Shot from the caboose of a departing train, this image captures the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad crossing at East Nash Street. The photograph is undated, but appears to have been taken in the 1940s. It is part of the Atlantic Coast Line album of the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, a collection housed at Saint Louis Mercantile Library and digitized on Flickr.
To the right lay East Wilson, the largest of the town’s African-American communities and the locus of its black business district.
To the left is Wilson’s passenger rail station, built in 1924. (The building was restored to its original condition in the late 1990s and now serves as an Amtrak station.)
A closer look at the people walking west toward downtown:
And those headed east, perhaps towards home:
For the same shot today, minus side rails and telegraph poles and pedestrians, see here.