Degrading The Past: Atlanta Falcons Demolish City Landmark to Build New Stadium

When I first heard it announced that the Atlanta Falcons would be getting a new stadium in 2017 it didn’t hit me.

When I heard that two local churches in the area where they intend to build the new stadium had been offered a sum of money for their land it didn’t hit me.

When I opened up a separate savings account in hopes of saving up enough for 2016 Falcons season tickets it didn’t hit me.

Monday it hit me.

Friendship Baptist Church founded in 1866 is the one of the oldest African - Amercian churches in Georgia
Friendship Baptist Church founded in 1866 is the one of the oldest African – American churches in Georgia Photo Cred Ben Gray, AJC.

The historic Friendship Baptist church has been torn down. Yet another piece of heritage and who we are as a people has been set to the wayside all in the pursuit of greed. From a pure business sense I understand and it makes sense. Friendship was old and the new pastors can use the money gained to open a modern home to fellowship and give back to our community. That will no doubt do us some good for we as a community are rich in faith yet poor in blessings.

I watched the demolition on Channel 2 news Monday morning, surprised by the singular tears streaming down my face. I honestly didn’t think it would affect me like this. I kept thinking “Does anyone else see this”?

Dr. Maynard H.Jackson Sr served as Reverend at Friendship from 1945-1953. Photo Cred. Ben Gray, AJC.
Dr. Maynard H.Jackson Sr served as Reverend at Friendship from 1945-1953. Photo Cred. Ben Gray, AJC.

I kept picturing the entire city watching tepidly as brick by history laden brick is laid at its penultimate resting place. My questions are: Are we the only culture that would allow our heritage to be raped in such a fashion all in the name of a game? Is this even a cultural issue or is this an Atlanta issue?

I lived in Augusta, Ga for years and if you wanted a history lesson sans the classroom, all you needed to do was take a trip downtown where you could see the  watermarks from a great flood 100 years ago, the childhood home of a late President and of course the adult home of a musical legend. It’s as if the lackadaisical attitude that has for years forever plagued our sports franchises has bled out into our care and passion for who we are.

In 1879 Morehouse College was founded in the basement of Friendship Baptist. Spellman College as well in 1881
In 1879 Morehouse College was founded in the basement of Friendship Baptist. Spelman College as well in 1881. Photo Cred. Ben Gray, AJC.

 

My nephews are 4 and 2 years old, and at the rate that we are losing our culture they will never stand on the same tiles that Martin Luther King did, touch a book read by Hosea Williams or explore “Sweet Auburn” as it is currently preserved.

Its not just enough to have memories in passing, we need to bask in them to get a true understanding of the struggle our forefathers went though so that we can have the freedoms that we enjoy. Every lesson I’ve ever learned that was worthwhile came from experience, not just in a book. Seeing that demolition brought up some stirring feelings, I try to never live with regrets, but I do wish I had taken one more field trip to the church before the reality of that once integral part of our history became a pile of rubble.

Friendship Baptist was a frequent organizing site during the fight for civil rights in the 1950's and 60's
Friendship Baptist was a frequent organizing site during the fight for civil rights in the 1950’s and 60’s

Its my hope that this tragedy arises enough of a public outcry that this city recognizing preservation of our culture becomes a key initiative. If we continue to destroy our heritage, we will forget who we are. This is a rather large step toward that process, unless we as a community make a consciences choice to remember.

#RememberFriendship #RememberFreedom

– Glass

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s