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.
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”?
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.
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.
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.