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Five Points in New Bern has rich African American heritage and artwork

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

Originally published July 28, 2021

Story and Photography by Charlie Hall - Sun Journal

The Greater Five Points area in New Bern is a historically significant part of African American history in New Bern. It is also at the Broad Street gateway to the downtown district, with its own business revival ongoing.

It is also an area that has much outdoor public art, which reflects history, culture, struggles and success in the area.

This mural is one of three in the Five Points neighborhood signifying unity and New Bern history.

Reach for the Stars

This sculpture is a tribute to Walt Bellamy Jr., NBA Hall of Fame professional basketball

player from New Bern. The sculpture is the work of Glen Spencer. It is located on Jones Street, just down the block from where Bellamy was born. Kathy Adolph was instrumental in getting the sculpture completed. It is viewable from Pollock Street.

Dominican Murals

A group of seven visiting artists and an intern from the Dominican Republic painted three facing murals on buildings in Five Points owned by Clarence Monroe in 2012. Craven Arts Council sponsored the project. Board member Michaele Watson recalled, "The murals are the story of our past and future in New Bern. We came up the river, brought the railroad and settled the town. The arms mural represents our future coming to together as equals."

Phoenix Rising

This was also a project of the Dominican artists, painted on the side of a building in the 900 block of Queen Street. It is the story of the Great Fire of 1922. The Phoenix Rising is the promise of a better future after the fire, according to Watson, who was on the Craven Arts Council committee.

This 2012 mural recalls the Great Fire of 1922 and the hope of Phoenix rising.

Derick Bryant mural

Bryant is a New Bern native who now lives in Atlanta, who added to Five Points public art with this 2015 river scene mural on the side of his mother Mary Suggs' salon, Designing Image, at 928 Queen Street. He also founded the annual Colorfest arts festival for children, which features several murals on a nearby wall. Derick Bryant painted this river scene mural in 2015.

The Unity Project

The Unity Project was created in the summer of 2020 by local youth and community members as a symbol of harmony and a visual link between uptown and downtown New Bern. The project was coordinated by the Craven Arts Council & Gallery. It is located in the parking lot of Broad Street Christian Church on Broad Street.

Lee Hood mural

Hood, a longtime artist in New Bern painted this mural showing life along Queen Street in the 1930s. It is on the Mexican Bakery at the intersection of Queen and Pollock streets. It features a fountain, era transportation and social life in the neighborhood.

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