What Should be Done With the Architecture of America’s Racist Past?

By Associated Press
Global News, Feb 9, 2016

Image: A woman stands in the old doorway of the Lyric Theatre, in Birmingham, Ala. Courtesy of Global News and AP, photo by Brynn Anderson(Image: A woman stands in the old doorway of the Lyric Theatre, in Birmingham, Ala. Courtesy of Global News and AP, photo by Brynn Anderson)

Growing up in the 1950s, William Bell had to enter Birmingham’s segregated Lyric Theatre though a side entrance, marked “COLORED,” that was walled-off from the elegant lobby. He climbed a dimly lit stairwell to watch movies from the steep balcony where black patrons had to sit for generations.

Now the city’s mayor, he recalls the Lyric’s beauty, but also the way it isolated black people.

The inequity built into The Lyric Theatre’s very architecture is a painful reminder of the city’s ugly past as one of the most segregated places in America. But it also serves as a living history lesson, a symbol of how the Deep South has changed since the courts ended discriminatory Jim Crow laws. Read more…

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