Roanoke Higher Education Center’s new walkway plaza highlights historic Gainsboro neighborhood

‘It’s a story that hasn’t been fully told,’ said one school leader

ROANOKE, Va. – A new walkway between the Roanoke Higher Education Center with the Claude Moore Education Complex, connecting the two sides of campus.

The Central Walkway Plaza is the newest addition to campus.

“We envisioned for our students to eat, to study and to visit. It is also a place for our culinary arts students to enjoy an outdoor learning lab,” said executive director Kay Dunkley.

Not only is the walkway bridging the two sides of campus together, it’s also shedding a light on the rich history of the Gainsboro neighborhood.

“The engravings and the markings in the walkway plaza can tell the story of many contributions of the Gainsboro neighborhood,” said Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea.

Stories like the Norfolk & Western Railway coming to town and creating jobs for African Americans in the 1880′s.

Plus, how Gainsboro became a hub for black businesses and culture in the early 1900′s.

“It’s a story that hasn’t been fully told. But the Higher Education Center and other community partners, we are collaborating to make sure the story is told so that younger people can understand just how historic this area is,” said Senior Director of Academics and Students Services, Carla James.

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