Nursery school at Reid Street Community Center.

Just before Christmas 1940, with the assistance of the National Youth Administration, the City of Wilson opened a nursery school at Reid Street Community Center, staffed by four unnamed “negro college graduates.” At the same time, the City organized a formal recreation program at the Center. (Sidenote: a program I benefitted from thirty years later when I learned to swim at Reid Street.)

Wilson Daily Times, 10 December 1940.


  1. This program was beneficial to so many children in the community. My mother (Linda Kirby) was very instrumental in managing this program in the 70’s 80’s. There were swim lessons in the summer; Arts and crafts classes where she taught young girls to sew and cook; Free dances for teens most weekends; Tutoring; Talent Shows; Tennis lessons & Basketball teams; and even exercise classes for the elderly were only a few of the benefits of this program. I have had many “my age” Wilsonians approach me bragging about how my mom saved them from the streets … hats off to the city and it’s loyal Reid Street Community Center Personnel for establishing and successfully managing such a program.

    Lisa, thank you for highlighting history! You are greatly appreciated.

    1. Please extend my thanks to Ms. Linda! I was hoping someone would post with a personal connection to the Center! As you note, Angie, Reid Street’s youth programming, including its legendary swim teams, played an important role in the community for decades — and is sorely needed today!

      1. Suddenly, I stopped receiving notices about Black- Wide Awake. I am happy to see that you are still involved with this. Your posts were so enjoyable, informative, and sometimes, sad. I will begin searching for new posts.

        Linda Tart

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