Value engineering history (updated)

I’ll make another comment about value engineering. It’s not just the numbers, but it is what we’ll be doing as far as memorializing a very important piece of history in the city of Decatur. And while there are opportunities for cultural gatherings and so forth, this will be a very specific one that has a very specific history and is someplace that needs to be noted as to what the Bottoms and the segregation of the City of Decatur and how far we’ve come. So thank you for your care in maintaining that piece throughout this project. — Decatur City Commissioner Kecia Cunningham.

The video is adapted from the March 18, 2013, Decatur City Commission meeting. For background information about the demolition of the Beacon property, read Separate and unequal: Preserving Jim Crow.

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Separate and unequal: Preserving Jim Crow

Equalization schools were the South’s futile attempt to cling to Jim Crow segregation. They were built throughout Georgia, South Carolina, and other Deep South states as a last ditch effort to forestall court-ordered public school integration. According to Georgia architectural historian Steven Moffson, his state had the greatest number of schools built to preserve the separate but equal doctrine that ultimately was dismantled under the 1954 landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

Decatur’s Beacon Elementary and Trinity High schools were among the hundreds of equalization schools built in Georgia after World War II. They were constructed in 1955 and 1956 on the site where the city had maintained its African American school, the Herring Street School, since the early twentieth century. In early 2013, three years after receiving a $10,000 historic preservation grant that should have led to the property’s protection, the City of Decatur began demolishing parts of the two schools to build a new police headquarters and civic plaza. Continue reading