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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Soul City: A Social Experiment during the Civil Rights Struggle in North Carolina

Welcome to a dashed dream
Soul City is both interesting and a little sad. While traveling through Warren County, NC I took the opportunity to stop in to find Soul City (GC15HBT). This gave me the chance to look around the actual town of the same name. I learned that this community was the brainchild of Civil Rights Activist and Pastor Floyd B. McKissickHis vision was to create a community in which people from all races could live in harmony. He wanted to intersperse industry with residential areas. Where were the funds to come from? Some donations supported the project but largely government grants supported this endeavor. McKissick broke with most of his activist colleagues in the late 1960's to become a Republican. Some accused him of becoming a Republican in order to gain financial support for his Soul City vision. The community started out with a bang but then, after failing to attract jobs to the area, fell into disrepair. There were also charges of money mismanagement; a charge that was later discovered to be unfounded. The dream was to have a community of 50,000 by the year 2000. Instead the community was in great decline by the end of the 1970's. There are only a few hundred inhabitants of Soul City today. Today the biggest enterprise in Soul City are the county and state correctional facilities. They are surrounded by large areas separated off with barbed wire to keep the prisoners from escaping. McKissick died in 1991. By then the dream was already fading. If you get the chance to look for this cache do so. It's just a short detour off of Interstate 85 at the Manson Exit. Just turn right at the end of the exit ramp. When you reach Highway 1 turn left and proceed until you see the Soul City sign. Turn right and make your way to the cache and the city that was a dream lost.
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