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Shotgun homes will become historical landmarks. These sites will preserve African American legacy in Winston-Salem.

This shotgun house has been unoccupied since the 1990s. Photo via

Efforts are underway to preserve two shotgun houses as iconic symbols of African American freedom in Winston-Salem. Located in the Happy Hill neighborhood, revitalization of the sites is in the works to create a historical landmark in the city. The homes will showcase African Americans’ lives during pivotal periods such as Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and other historical events.

The architectural style of shotgun homes originated from Yorubaland in West Africa. The word “shotgun” derives from the Yoruba word “to-gun” which means “place of assembly” or “where people gather.”

One shotgun house will serve as a community heritage site — the other will become an exhibit space that will be open to the community. The grounds will serve as outside exhibit space with interpretive panels and kiosks to expand the story and the footprint of the site.

The Shotgun House Legacy site will become part of the Black heritage tours. Photo by Triad Cultural Arts

Triad Cultural Arts, Inc. is collecting memorabilia and artifacts that will be photographed for cataloging. These photographs will be digitized and open for public viewing and on special occasions.

If you have any significant pieces of history related to shotgun houses, you have opportunities to contribute them during two community engagement sessions. Past and current residents of Happy Hill, Columbia Heights, and nearby areas are also invited to share their stories.

  • Date: Saturday, April 13 and Saturday, May 11

  • Time: 11a.m.-2 p.m.

  • Location: SG Enterprise Center (1922 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.)

The site will be open for tours in June. It is expected to be fully built out in 2025. You can support Black preservation, history, and experiences in Winston-Salem through donations or volunteering opportunities.

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