NAPAAHC opposes impending demolition of Truth Hall on the campus of Florida A&M University

Monday, February 14, 2022


Proposed Demolition Continues to Diminish National Historic District

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 2:48 PM EST


The National Association for the Preservation of African-American History and Culture, Inc. (NAPAAHC), based in Tallahassee, Florida, opposes the demolition of Truth Hall, a potentially contributing property to the university's already-designated National Historic District (listed 1996).


The following letter was sent to President Larry Robinson, administrators, and members of both the FAMU Board of Trustees, and the Florida Board of Governors on behalf of the organization:


President Robinson, Governors and Trustees,


I write to you to ask that the university pause the demolition of yet another historic structure on the illustrious campus of Florida A&M University. As President of the National Association for the Preservation of African-American History and Culture, Inc. and Chair of the Tallahassee Branch NAACP's African-American Historical Preservation Committee, I am deeply concerned that the campus, which through the efforts of the late Professor James N. Eaton, Sr. (Meek-Eaton Black Archives) was designated by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic District in 1996, will endanger this coveted status if we continue to demolish historic structures at this pace.


The demolition of National Register-listed properties, such as McGuinn Hall, Diamond Hall, Cropper Hall and Wheatley Hall, was alarming to many alumni and university stakeholders. Such is the demolition of Truth Hall, which though not listed as a contributing property in the National Historic District, continues the trajectory of tearing down the campus's historic buildings for "greenspace."


As a fifth generation Tallahassee resident, and a product of this illustrious institution, I ask that the leadership pause this action, and seek to engage students, alumni, faculty and staff in the decision making process. These buildings not only hold delicate memories for generations of FAMUans, they also hold immense and irreplaceable historic value. We must also take care not to continue to demolish buildings that have been listed as a part of the historic district.


We ask that you pause this action and seek an alternative repurposing of Truth Hall. As university officials have stated, students want modern amenities. This is true, and as such, a repurpose of Truth Hall for administrative offices, classrooms, or some other use; perhaps an additional historic extension for the Black Archives, would enable us to preserve what remains of the campus's architectural character.


During the tenure of Dr. James H. Ammons, in 2010, the university used PECO dollars to gut, renovate, and restore dormitories and classroom buildings, some of which date back to the 1920s; including Sampson and Young Halls, also listed as contributing properties to the historic district. If this could be done then, it most certainly can be done for other buildings on campus.


We must do all that we can, and use every resource at our disposal in the positions that we are in, to preserve this rich history.


Thank you.


Sincerely,


Delaitre J. Hollinger

President and CEO

National Association for the Preservation of African-American History and Culture, Inc.


Chairman

Tallahassee Branch NAACP

African-American Historical Preservation Committee

--

National Association for the Preservation of

African-American History & Culture, Inc.

www.blackpreservation.org




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