Spirit is sponsoring a community meeting from 5:30 to 7 tonight at the Carver Community Center for residents to bring their recollections of the movement along with their ideas for documenting the upheaval of the times in murals to be created along 15th Street.
“Members of the community who lived through that time will have some information and insights that we need to make the trail the best and most accurate that it can be,” said Georgia Calhoun, member of the Spirit of Anniston board and co-chair of the trail group.
Spirit had its last community meeting concerning the trail about a year ago, said Betsy Bean, executive director for the Spirit of Anniston. That meeting was to unveil the project to the public; this one wants feedback on the plans so far and the community’s ideas as the organizing moves forward.
“We hope to develop a series of murals in the West 15th Street area, and we just want to get some public input on what would be some good topics to portray that relates to local African American history,” Bean said.
The staff will be collecting residents’ ideas and recollections at the meeting.
Spirit is also inviting residents to bring old pictures of the sites to be copied. Some of the sites have changed dramatically and are not recognizable as the sites of the events that shaped the movement.
“We’re also hoping that people have got photographs of some of these significant buildings that are no longer there,” Bean said. “For instance, Seventeenth Street Baptist Church has been rebuilt. It doesn’t look the way it looked in ’61. So, we’d love to get a historic photo of that church.”
The Civil Rights Trail will have eleven stops in and around Anniston: the former Greyhound Bus Station at 1031 Gurnee; the former Trailways Bus Station at 9th and Noble; the Calhoun County Courthouse on 11th Street; the library at 10th and Wilmer; the Alabama Highway 202 marker where the Freedom Riders’ bus burned; the 17th Street Baptist Church; St. John Methodist Church at 329 D St.; Mt. Olive parsonage at 101 S. Christine; the First Presbyterian Church at 1701 Henry Road; the site of Willie Brewster’s murder; and West 15th Street.
In time, other sites important in the area’s African American heritage will be added to the trail.
Residents attending tonight’s meeting will also be provided refreshments from The Classic on Noble.
Star staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545.