Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: SUNDAY, April 2, 1995                   TAG: 9503310102
SECTION: HORIZON                    PAGE: G-1   EDITION: METRO 
DATELINE:                                 LENGTH: Short


We got plenty of calls and mail reacting to our Jan. 29 special section, "Street By Street, Block By Block: How Urban Renewal Uprooted Black Roanoke." Here are a few of the letters, and a couple of new family stories about life in old Northeast Roanoke.

Some readers said they were new to the Roanoke Valley and were using the section to introduce their children to the city's black history. Many said they had no idea that urban renewal demolished 1,600 Roanoke homes, 200 businesses and 24 churches. They didn't know that a neighborhood once stood in Northeast Roanoke, where Interstate 581, the Roanoke Civic Center and nearby motels and businesses now pave the way to downtown.

A few people were critical of the newspaper for running the story. "I think we should stop the pity party," said one man from Vinton. "There's a lot of people who worked their butts off to save what we've got and it's certainly not just the black community that's suffering. Although this may have happened in the past, we need to put the past behind us and get on with the future."

Copies of the special section have been sent to Western Virginia members of Congress, along with a letter asking for their positions on some Roanokers' demand for an audit to determine what happened to the estimated $22 million to $40 million in federal urban redevelopment money spent in Gainsboro since 1968.

 by CNB