Fix the house – Worry about the street later

Published 4:08 pm Monday, June 9, 2014

It comes down to a simple question: What is most important?
For months — if not longer — the debate has raged on when, where and how to honor civil rights icon Amelia Boynton. Lately, that debate has focused on the renaming of Lapsley Street in honor of the former educator.
But, while all of this wrangling has gone on, while all of the town hall meetings have been held, the house Boynton long called home has continued to deteriorate.
Just recently, the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation and the Alabama Historical Commission placed the Boynton house on their 2014 list of Places in Peril.
Each year since 1994, the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation have published a list of the state’s most endangered historic places in an effort to publicize the urgent need for action to save important private homes, public buildings, bridges and other parts of the built environment.
In announcing the list, the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation said, “Today, on the eve of the Golden Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, the Boynton House sits vacant and derelict. Its condition has deteriorated since 2008, when it first appeared on the Places In Peril list.
“The Boynton House desperately needs responsible stewards to weatherproof the house, protect it from vandals, and develop and fund a preservation or restoration plan this year so its significant history can be interpreted during the Golden Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March in 2015.”
We could not agree more. This house is an important part of Selma’s historic landscape and must be protected and restored. If the Gateway Foundation, the current owners of the house, are not able to properly care for the house, we urge them to put the house up for sale; to find owners who can if nothing else prevent further deterioration of the home.
So again we ask, what is more important? Is it more important to save the house Amelia Boynton called home for so many years or change the name of the street.
We know it is not an either or situation, but in our mind, saving the home should be at the top of everyone’s list.

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