David Caldwell, Jr.
A Chapel Hill native, David Caldwell is the Project Director and Community Organizer for the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association located in northern Chapel Hill, North Carolina. As part of his position, he collaborates with UNC in research and works with PORCH and summer enrichment programs to help revitalize the Rogers Road Community.
David Caldwell, Jr. - On his career and community
“You made a mistake, but learn from it. Matter of fact, if you learn from it, it’s not a mistake."
- David Caldwell, Jr.
David Caldwell Jr. gives an overview of his life in Chapel Hill and his experiences in the US Army and his other occupations. He begins by talking about his family and what his community looked like growing up, as well as describing other different families in the community. Mr. Caldwell shares stories about what children did in the community when he was younger and recalls times spent working and having fun. He also tells stories of his experiences in the army and his other occupations, including security services. Mr. Caldwell discusses how he tries to give back to his community and provides ideas about ways to improve community involvement.
David Caldwell, Jr. - On his education, sports experience, and family's involvement in law enforcement and the military
"That's what I try to instill, doing what’s right when no one is looking."
- David Caldwell, Jr.
David Caldwell is a native of Chapel Hill and long time community organizer and activist in the Rogers Road community. Mr. Caldwell brought materials to be scanned during the interview, and large portions of the interview related to those materials, which included photographs, maps, and newspaper clippings among other materials. The materials covered a range of topics which were discussed throughout the interview. The interview begins with Caldwell explaining the historical items he brought, their origins, and his vision for the usage of the materials. Throughout the interview he discusses his family’s involvement in law enforcement and in military service. Caldwell tells several stories related to the Invasion of Grenada, racial demographics and dynamics of the military, and the treatment of Black veterans. At various points during the interview Caldwell discusses his education growing up in Chapel Hill. He recalls the importance of education, as well as the sports he played while in middle and high school. Caldwell recalls his civics teacher, Joyce Clayton, who began a Black history class at Chapel Hill High School and remembers her as an inspiration. Throughout the interview, Caldwell describes the materials he has related to the history of Orange county and discusses the history of poor houses within the county. Towards the end of the interview, Caldwell tells the story of him and his friends playing pick-up basketball against some UNC football and basketball players while they were in high school. The interview confluences with Caldwell discussing the racial dynamics of playing sports in Chapel Hill including discussing the football game played between Chapel Hill High School and Lincoln High School before integration, his lack of access to courts to play on, and police involvement in pick up games with UNC players.
David Caldwell, Jr. - On the integration of Lincoln High School, family, and civil rights
David Caldwell, Jr. - On his parents, civil rights, and law enforcement
David Caldwell - On the difficulties between the local government and Rogers-Eubank community concerning the landfill
David Caldwell is a retired sheriff's officer who recounts the changes of the Rogers Road-Eubank neighborhood in Orange County, N.C. over four decades as they relate to the introduction of a landfill and increased housing density. Caldwell has been active in social justice work in his community as a leader of both the Rogers-Eubank Neighborhood Association (RENA) and the Coalition to End Environmental Racism (RENA-CEER). Caldwell discusses ongoing difficult interaction with the local government as the Rogers-Eubank community has voiced concern and organized against the effects of the landfill. He recounts Rogers Roads being a green and lush area during his youth and how it became less so with the landfill and housing development. RENA-CEER is a leader amongst community organizations combating environmental racism.
David Caldwell, Jr. - On his career, community, and the Rogers-Eubanks neighborhood
David Caldwell - On the history of environmental racism in the Rogers Road community
“That’s one reason we’re trying so hard to document everything. Because if you lose your identity, you lose your community…You lose your community, whether it’s from development or people buying it, you lose your identity also. So either way, if you lose either one, you’ve lost completely.”
- David Caldwell
During this interview David Caldwell led a walking tour of the landfill and community of Rogers Road in Orange County, North Carolina. A long-term resident of the historically Black community, David is the Project Director and Community Organizer at Rogers Road. He shows the landfill, the woods in which the streams are contaminated by runoff from the red dirt (caused by the landfill), a historical cemetery, an enslaver's home, and the residential communities. David has rich knowledge and experience with the history of Rogers Road. He speaks on the loss of community, the loss of natural beauty, and of environmental racism.
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"
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