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Residents shed light on gentrification in historically Black community, Porters Quarters

Published: May. 16, 2021 at 7:56 PM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 7:57 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - From homes to churches and old day cares, Faye Williams walked through her historically black neighborhood, Porters Quarters to show nearly 40 residents the sites that shaped their neighborhood and the gentrification that she said is now plaguing it.

Williams said the community has been around since the late 1800 and different developments around the area that don’t benefit her neighbors are becoming more prevalent.

“We’ve been here since 1886 and the same people, the same ancestors, same folks need to able to relax and to feel empowered to stay here and know that their children will be able to stay here and their grandchildren,” Williams said.

Goddsville Dream Defenders organized the tour and their transformative justice co-lead, Karine Dieuvil said it opened her eyes to see what the residents face.

“People are constantly getting knocks on the door asking them if they’re willing to sell their house and Miss Faye made it quite clear there are no signs telling them that their houses for sale,” Dieuvil said. They’re opening up this area to more gentrification of developments that only cater to white business owners.”

The tour began with a visual of gentrification they residents said they are facing, and stopped at sites like Shady Grove Primitive Baptist church that has been bringing the community together since 1900.

“Being here and having this historic walk was an opportunity for us to take a step back and really listen to a community elder who is from here and has a lot to say about the decisions being made by the city and how we can sway their choices,” Dieuvil said.

Williams believes this tour will open doors and she hopes the people she took on it will help voice the concerns of the people who want to keep the history of the Porters Quarters alive.

“They can write letters to the city commissioners, they can do the same thing with the developers and tell them to back away from Porters Quarters,” Williams said. “This is a historic site and it needs to able to live here.”

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The Dream Defenders are planning to hold similar tours once a month

Click here for information on how to donate to William’s cause.

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