Kathy Atwater

"There would not be a University if there had not been the Blacks in this community to help build the University."

- Kathy Atwater

Kathy Atwater is a native of Chapel Hill and has lived in the Northside Community all of her life. Having retired from the State of NC after 30 years of service, Kathy is now pursuing a passion that she didn't know she had until faced with the unending changes to her beloved community. Working with the Jackson Center has allowed Kathy to relive the memories of a neighborhood full of love, compassion, and caring and to look forward to the days when those memories will soon be reality once again.

Kathy Atwater

Wanda Weaver and Kathy Atwater - Speaking about family and the Northside community

Wanda Weaver and Kathy Atwater - Speaking about family and the Northside community

This interview mainly focuses on Wanda Weaver’s mother and father/Kathy Atwater’s aunt and uncle, as well as the past and present dynamics of the Northside community. Ms. Wanda and Ms. Kathy show pictures of their mother and father/aunt and uncle, as well as discuss what they did for the community. Both parents were heavily involved in the community and had a giving spirit to everyone. They looked out and gave a helping hand to whomever needed it. Ms. Wanda and Ms. Kathy then discuss their contributions during the civil rights movement. They were only elementary aged during the time so they did not participate. They did not recognize race as a problem due to them being shielded and protected by those who loved them. The latter part of the interview primarily discusses current youth involvement in Northside, as well as changes in the neighborhood and community members’ participation in decisions regarding those changes. Ms. Weaver discusses ways that churches are currently trying to involve youth in the Northside community through outreach programs. Ms. Atwater also talks about programs such as Learning Across Generations through which the community is partnering with the school system to increase awareness of Northside history and community participation amongst the youth. The interview then transitions into conversation about the increased number of students and city-like buildings in and around the community. Ms. Weaver and Ms. Atwater both stress that it is important for community members to voice their opinions about these changes and work together to formulate a community-based response. The interview ends with Ms. Weaver and Ms. Atwater sharing the impact that the Northside community has had on their lives.

To learn more about Wanda Weaver's search for her mother's music, click here to read the article, "The Search For Susie Weaver's 'Freedom In Chapel Hill'," from WUNC.
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Kathy Atwater - On food

Kathy Atwater - On food

Ms. Atwater gives an overview of food access in the community when she was growing up and how her family’s attitudes toward food have developed over the course of her life. Starting with a discussion of her mother’s kitchen and garden, she describes the role of food in her family and in the neighborhood community, and highlights the importance of food as a centerpiece for social gatherings and celebrations. She discusses how she learned some cooking techniques from her mother and her uncle, and how she is still learning and changing her methods. She recalls the different restaurants, grocery stores and local markets in the neighborhood, such as the Country Junction, Bill’s Barbecue, Hollywood Grill, Mama Dip’s, Dillard’s Barbecue, Pan-Pan Restaurant, Cliff’s Meat Market, Weaver Store on Brooks Street, Mason’s Store, Fowler’s, and A&P.
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Kathy Atwater - On the kitchen (clip)

Kathy Atwater - On the kitchen (clip)

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Kathy Atwater - On gardens (clip)

Kathy Atwater - On gardens (clip)

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Kathy Atwater - On home, community, and Northside

Kathy Atwater - On home, community, and Northside

In the beginning of the interview, Ms. Atwater describes the history of her home, growing up in her neighborhood, and the significance of keeping her home in the family in order to continue an ongoing legacy. To Ms. Atwater, a home is more than a place of residence; it is a memorial, it is the material representation of a legacy. Throughout the interview, Ms. Atwater discusses why she chose to remain in Chapel Hill and the change she’s witnessed over the years. She describes how gentrification of the Northside community is a disgrace to those community members whose ancestors built the University. And she also discusses the importance of communication within the community between residents and students to make everyone feel safe, like she did growing up when everyone knew their neighbors. To Ms. Atwater, life is about serving others, especially her family and those within the community and she believes that we should all engage in our community like Jesus Christ did. Key components of Ms. Atwater’s life include her family, faith, and home, and while she’s preparing herself for the change to come to the Northside community, she thinks that with community engagement, change can and needs to happen in favor of those who built it.
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"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"

Ms. Esphur Foster

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