The Princeville Problem Now

In response to the President Clinton’s Executive Order, the Civil Works Review Board of the US Army Corps of Engineers conducted a feasibility study from 2002 to 2006. The study resulted in a Recommended Plan which consisted of extension of the on-site levee, installation of culvert flap-gates, intersection of and road improvements, and shoulder levee construction. A central feature of the plan was to address the most dangerous source of flooding: the bypassing of the existing levee at its norther terminus.

Despite these measures, Princeville suffered catastrophic flooding and damage in October 2016 after Hurricane Matthew.  FEMA elected not to provide the required disaster relief, and sent most of the residents away to other locales. The history of this unique and important American town is in danger of being lost.

It is unclear how much of the 2006 Recommended Plan was actually implemented and how much of the funding authorized by the Clinton Executive Order was actually expended. It is also unclear how much money was authorized by FEMA in response to Hurricane Matthew and how these funds were allocated and spent. Preserving the Vision is intent of answering these questions.

Preserving the Vision is currently conducting an inquiry into the authorization, allocation and the flow of federal funds in response to the Princeville flooding in 2016 and previous floods. It will include a close look at how much of the 2006 Recommended Plan was implemented by the Corps of Engineers and how much money was expended. This research project is viewed as a first step in formulating a comprehensive repair and restoration plan for the town of Princeville.

The legacy of the African Americans who established Princeville includes individuals such as Harriet Jacobs, a feminist and abolitionist who taught in the early Freedom schools established after the Proclamation freeing the slaves in 1863. Her home and writings are an important part of the history in the years leading up to and following the abolition of slavery in the United States. Historic and culturally significant properties and legacies are in danger of being lost if Princeville is not restored.

Princeville NC, is a town that was settled by former slaves seeking protection and freedom. Following the departure of Union soldiers, many of the now-freed slaves remained behind and settled in an area named Freedom Hill. Freedom Hill was incorporated in 1885 in Edgecombe County. The name was changed to Princeville in honor of Turner Prince, an African-American man who had been involved in building many of the community’s homes.

The town of Princeville North Carolina was swept away in 2001 and October of 2016, by storm surges brought up the Tar River as a result of a hurricane.

The early forefathers of Princeville were African-Americans who struggled early-on with social and economic difficulties relating to racism. Over time, the citizens of Princeville have developed a strong sense of pride in their history and in their community and the Town stands as a symbol of African-American determination and endurance.

I had grown up in Greensboro during the volatile civil riots after the Woolworth sit in in our city, and I had seen the toll it took for the price of revolution and the struggle for freedom.

However, it wasn’t a race thing that compelled me to work with Princeville but it was a knee buckling event that happened to me when I realized that the very history and roots of the American experience and particularly black history, was about to be lost in the unobserved destruction from the receding Tar River.

Of course, it was close to the holidays so the “feel good time of giving was in the air” and the media descended  to tell their stories of sadness and loss and  the usual “helicopter fly overs" of the government people who promised help, but as of now the Christmas for 75% of the town was spent in hotels, or homes that were severely damaged and dreams and visions that were lost. As of today, FEMA has not brought in trailers and hundreds are displaced.

This site will document these citizens and the incredible photos of after the flood, and the scars left on the faces of the people forever changed by the event.

It will take many years, many dollars, millions of hours and will take tough exterior people who have a soft gummy interior to have heart to repair the damages, but they have begun their journey to recovery.

Pr03 Sunset 560













Cleaning Up and Restoring the Princeville Church

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” ~ HD Thoreau

In this web site, we will be exploring projects that are the very seeds of inspiration. It is an attempt to join like-minded people together, to unify our own species into perpetual action for the good of the planet, and provide humanity and grace in our human endeavors.  

Our first project is a labor of love. It is to assist in the recovery efforts in the Town of Princeville North Carolina, in my own home state. There are many people involved who have been some of the most remarkable people I have ever been privileged to sit at a table with…and call my brother, my fellow man, or my hero.