February is Black History Month! Each week, we will celebrate the rich local history and culture of long-time residents in our Place Matters footprint, including 13 historically black neighborhoods in northeast Winston-Salem. By sharing their stories, we hope to shed light on the importance of the fight for equity and strive to create communities where everyone has the resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive.
Evangelist Velma Hinton
Ramsey, Timothy. “United Way highlights neighborhoods for Black History Month (part 4). The Chronicle, February 24, 2022.
For Black History Month, the United Way of Forsyth County wanted to highlight individuals in the communities involved in their “Place Matters” initiative. For this week, they have chosen to feature Evangelist Velma Hinton of Northeast Winston-Salem.
Evangelist Hinton spoke with Regina Craven, director of strategic communications and public relations for the United Way of Forsyth County, about the area and how it has transformed over her 94 years.
Hinton was born and raised in Winston-Salem and is the oldest of eight siblings. She is the only living child out of her brothers and sisters. She grew up on Dunleith Avenue and attended 14th Street Elementary School.
She moved to the state of Florida but came back to the city when she was in fifth grade. She first attended Atkins High School but ended up graduating from Carver High School.
After graduation, she entered into a career in cooking because cooking runs in her family. Her grandmother was a hotel cook and her mother was a cook as well. As a child, she learned more from watching than hands-on cooking.
“I did more watching than cooking because she did not want you stirring her pot,” said Hinton when asked if her grandmother and mother allowed her to cook while growing up.
Hinton was never trained as a professional chef but with her skills in the kitchen, you would think she was. She used all of the tools she learned from her grandmother and mother in her career as a cook.
Hinton has six children with her first husband. She is a part of the ministerial staff at St. James AME Church. She is very active with her church and was awarded the Phenomenal Woman of God award by the church last year.
Hinton moved to Raleigh as an adult with her late husband to lead a church there, but came back to Winston years later. Her mother passed away and left their family home to Hinton. The City of Winston-Salem is currently doing some renovations on her home.
According to Hinton, the homeowners in the neighborhood used to have meetings to discuss what was going on in the area. Now, she has noticed that children and adults are doing destructive things in the neighborhood.
“Anytime you pick up the paper, you read about stabbing or shooting someone or picking them up for drugs. It’s so sad,” Hinton stated.
Hinton had a stroke in 2021 and uses a chair walker to get around now. Prior to her stroke, she was a frequent visitor to the CiVIC Senior Center and said she was the “queen of chair volleyball.”
Four of Hinton’s children attended Winston-Salem State University. She has enjoyed seeing the school expand and integrate. She has also enjoyed seeing the young children in the neighborhood grow up and make something of themselves as well.
Hinton is hopeful to see continued improvements to the neighborhood because there are several empty buildings that can be utilized for positive things. She would also like to see more people educated in the area to help deter violence.
She just wants people to be more loving to one another.