Greenmont’s newest crosswalk is more than a safety measure. It’s a statement.
The City of Morgantown’s August 13 confirmation of the design and placement of a new Black Lives Matter crosswalk in Greenmont feels significant, coming as it does less than a month after two Westover Police officers face a federal lawsuit over the 2019 beating of Black resident Andre Howton.
“We must not think that West Virginia is in a bubble and these police brutality cases do not happen here,” says Delegate Danielle Walker, an outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement involved in the project.
The letters “BLM” and the colors of the Black Liberation flag will cross Arch Street at its intersection with Green Street in Greenmont, near Madeleine Marie’s Catering and Carryout. Greenmont is home to the Second Ward Annex, a segregated school from 1939 until 1954, and to the historically Black neighborhood surrounding it on White Avenue.
Greenmont has a strong history of inclusiveness, and this isn’t its first colorful crosswalk. Morgantown Pride installed a rainbow crosswalk at the corner of Green Street and White Avenue in the late summer of 2019. Since then, Ash Cutright has playfully called Greenmont “The Gayborhood” and says local Queer folx have reached out to state they feel more welcomed and safe in the neighbhorhood.
Cutright, president of Morgantown Pride and a member of the Morgantown Human Rights Commission, was instrumental in getting both crosswalks off—rather, on—the ground. It took petitioning and a proposal to City Council as well as an explanation for why the crosswalk is needed.
“The Black Lives Matter movement must be understood, not to just our justice departments, but to our community and society as a whole,” Cutright says, calling the crosswalk a tangible demonstration that the City of Morgantown is continuing to strive for inclusivity and support of our Black community.