Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Geography
This thesis seeks to examine anti-expressway organizing by the Crest Street community in Durham, North Carolina as a case study of community organizing, specifically evaluating the role of community identity and informal cultural institutions as vital organizing platforms in the community’s success in maintaining Crest Street as a unified neighborhood. Through analyzing the function of community institutions such as the Crest Street Community Council and the New Bethel Baptist Church, this thesis will assess the role of Crest Street community members and their motivations. Relying on interviews with Crest Street activists, primary documents and archives, and secondary academic works this thesis will also place Crest Street in the context of the national transportation and housing policies and overarching social conditions of white supremacy that shaped Crest Street into the community it was before and after the battle for its survival. Finally, this thesis will discuss the future of Crest Street and its collective identity as a “family community,” as the neighborhood becomes increasingly diversified and integrated with greater Durham.