Cherry Tree Crossing oral history project to air on public radio

Friday, May 2, 2014 4:42 PM
Last updated Saturday, May 3, 2014 1:36 AM
  • Follow Latest News

Tears, fears, laughter and joy that accompanied living at one of Augusta’s oldest public housing complexes are documented in an oral history project airing on Georgia public radio beginning Monday and continuing through the end of May.

The Cherry Tree Crossing Listening Project was a partnership between the Greater Augusta Arts Council and Georgia Public Broadcasting station WACG-FM 90.7. Student interns from Georgia Regents University’s communications department helped conduct interviews with more than a dozen former Cherry Tree Crossing residents.

Residents from Cherry Tree Crossing are being vacated before the 15th Street complex is demolished to make room for modern, mixed-income apartments. On Friday, five families remained of 355 families that lived at Cherry Tree when relocation began last fall, said Buddy Oldfield, the Augusta Housing Authority’s director of resident services.

Oldfield said Cherry Tree could be empty in 10 days. Families will not be forced to leave the complex before finding new housing.

WACG-FM Station Manager Drew Dawson said the oral history project revealed a surprisingly positive outlook on the housing project known to many outsiders as a breeding ground for gun violence and drugs.

“It’s almost as if violence was an anomaly. Family life was the norm,” Dawson said. “No one is denying that when it was bad it was very bad, but there were very good times as well.”

A couple that was married 22 years and raised children at Cherry Tree, a 25-year-old who graduated college and pursued more education and a high school teen who aspires to go to medical school were among those who shared stories.

Cherry Tree had a strong community life where children had water balloon fights, residents hosted holiday cookouts and grandparents sat on front stoops playing cards or chess, Dawson said. But, former residents also shared stories of sleeping on the floor to avoid bullets and untrustworthy relationships with police at the complex.

“Long after the neighborhood is gone, the buildings are gone, the stories of the people will remain,” Dawson said.

Greater Augusta Arts Council Executive Director Brenda Durant approached Dawson with the idea to collect stories before the neighborhood disappeared. Recording began earlier this year, and interviews were reduced to four-minute segments to air on radio.

“We have more than 20 finished pieces to air during the course of May,” Dawson said.

LISTEN ON AIR

The Cherry Tree Crossing Listening Project airs on WACG-FM 90.7 at 7:35 a.m. and 5:44 p.m. Monday through Friday. Segments continue through May.

Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Just My Opinion
5454
Points
Just My Opinion 05/02/14 - 07:50 pm
2
0
This might be very

This might be very interesting to hear. Doubt I'd be able to catch them on the radio, so I hope they make it available online.
Let's be honest...most of us have absolutely no idea what life would be like in the project, so this might be a way to do that.

willie7
949
Points
willie7 05/02/14 - 10:37 pm
0
0
I salute Barbara Durant for
Unpublished

I salute Barbara Durant for initiating this project. Maybe ,we middle class people will learn something about poor people that we certainly do not know.
We judge all of them as leeches!!!

Riverman1
82176
Points
Riverman1 05/03/14 - 06:38 am
0
0
Just A Feel Good Presentation?

I wonder if any of the controversial incidents will be covered in depth or is this just a feel good presentation?

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 05/03/14 - 10:46 am
0
0
masticate, urinate, defecate, fornicate, propagate, incarcerate
Unpublished

masticate, urinate, defecate, fornicate, propagate, incarcerate

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 05/03/14 - 10:49 am
0
0
Plantation Life circa "LBJ Great Society". Nuff sad !!!!
Unpublished

Plantation Life circa "LBJ Great Society". Nuff sad !!!!

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs