Supporters ask community to help save Douglass House

Supporters ask community to help save Douglass House

A news conference ended with Macon leaders requesting the community contribute to the Douglass House.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon leaders and activists spoke out against the demolition of the Douglass House, and want the support of the community to save it.

Community activist George Muhammad believes if the Douglass House is torn down, a piece of Macon’s heritage, and African American culture will be too.

"I want to work, and we want to work together to find a viable solution," Muhammad says, "If you tear down this house, the Dunkin' Doughnuts shop is here, the parking lot is here…what good is that to us?"

Several leaders in the community, including directors from Historic Macon and Mercer University are on board with preserving the house.

Last week Mercer offered the owner of the Douglass House Lou Patel $200,000. Patel says the offer is too low.

"I just really hopes that they developer takes that offer," says Historic Macon Executive Director Ethiel Garlington.

Douglass’ granddaughter Camellia Simmons agrees.

"I pray that something touches his heart and that he will reconsidered and that we can make this happen," says Simmons.

About a dozen people turned out for today’s news conference. It’s a start, but Muhammad wants more people to be vocal about this issue.

"If we have to move the house, we need some more support from the community. If we're going to have the house staying here-still restored-we need support from the community," says Muhammad.

According to Garlington, it would take more than $300,000 to move the building, plus another $300,000 to restore it, which is why the group, along with partners plan to open a donation fund in the future.

Macon-Bibb County’s Planning and Zoning Commission will put this issue on the table again at the August 11 meeting.    
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