ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Clarissa Street Reunion, an event celebrating the vibrant and culturally diverse history of the Clarissa Street Neighborhood in Rochester, celebrated its 25th year Saturday.
Event organizers say Clarissa Street holds a significant place in Rochester’s heritage, adding it once was an enduring legacy of Black-owned businesses dating back to the 1950s. They add that Clarissa Street epitomizes a true melting pot, uniting individuals from diverse backgrounds.
They say the development of the Interstate 490 Highway in the 1970s is what uprooted the area.
The Clarissa Street Legacy planning committee notes this event is a way to remind the community of what used to be a thriving hub for Rochester.
Renee Long, Vice President of Clarissa Street Legacy, explains, “It was like a village, right? So that’s why we come back here together, and we call it a reunion. So the significance is to bring everybody back together that was here in the past, have a great time. Enjoy the rich culture.”
As for the future, committee members say they hope to inspire the younger generations to look to the past and learn from the harmful impacts of urban renewal.
They’re even working on creating a comic book based on the area’s history.