- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- UNC Charlotte Honors College and Charlotte Action Research Project Interviews on Charlotte Neighborhoods
- Small But Significant : The Optimist Park Community
- Cecelia Johnston oral history interview, 2015 October 22
Cecelia Johnston oral history interview, 2015 October 22
Cecelia Johnston discusses her life and involvement in the Optimist Park community in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ms. Johnston is a longtime resident of the neighborhood and treasurer for the Optimist Park Community Association. She stresses the significance of Habitat for Humanity in the area, describing her experiences building homes during her required "sweat hours" as a prospective homeowner and meeting future neighbors in the process. Although Ms. Johnston recalls a time when there were problems with drug trafficking in the area, she notes that the perpetrators resided outside of the community and describes her proactive stance against this activity. As a retired nurse from Carolinas Medical Center, Ms. Johnston devotes much of her time to supporting the Second Ward High School National Alumni Foundation, volunteering with the medical team at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, and participating in disaster relief trainings for the Red Cross. Ms. Johnston welcomes change in Charlotte and sees the light rail project and its impact on her neighborhood as a positive development for Optimist Park. She does express some concern that improved connectivity could increase the opportunity for crime. Ms. Johnston recognizes the benefits of gentrification in the area, but she observes that newcomers to the neighborhood are often transitory, and she expresses her fear that the Optimist Park neighborhood will be subsumed by the growing neighboring North Davidson arts district .