OCTOBER OF 1968 IS WHEN IT ALL STARTED

(Bynum Family Buys Home In Hidden Valley)

Thelmetia and Raleigh Bynum married for five years had an eight month old rambunctious boy Raleigh, II.   We needed more room because our two bedroom apartment was proving to be too small.

After house hunting city wide, 1323 Squirrel Hill Road in the Hidden Valley Community was perfect.  Its location was ideal; near our church, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church;  near his practice on Keller Avenue; egress and exit was simple; convenient for Thelmetia’s work at Second Ward High School; the neighborhood was neat and clean and the house was affordable. 

Upon being informed that we were the first black family to own a home and live in Hidden Valley, Raleigh took the precaution to buy a gun at K-Mart on North Tryon Street (behind Wells Fargo Bank and the Library) where Sugar Creek Charter School is presently.  Because of the racial animosity of the time, he also alerted some acquaintances and asked their assistance for security by riding by our new home every two hours the night of the day we moved.  As it turned out, we had NO problems for two weeks.

It’s Halloween.  A cross was burned on our front lawn and an egg was thrown at our front door.  We had no interaction with any of our neighbors and found out fifteen months later that the Grand Dragon of the KKK lived next door and he made sure we had no problems so he wouldn’t be blamed.  Eventually other whites in the neighborhood began talking and interacting with us. 

As other blacks moved into the Valley our family increased to three children and many families became friends.  Many of the children living in Hidden Valley have become successful advocates for the community via doctors, lawyers, bankers, nurses, firemen, police officers, sheriffs, mass media , teachers, ministers, entertainers, to name a few.

Our children graduated from  Morehouse College, Georgetown University and Stanford University, then later graduated for North Carolina Central Law School, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and Harvard Business School.  We are blessed today with seven loving, intelligent and gifted grandchildren.

Submitted By Priscilla Duncan

Hidden Valley CDC Historical Committee