How a South Carolina Park Plans to Confront Its Racist HistoryBreaking News
tags: racism, South Carolina, Unity Park
Around 1939, at a time when black people were lynched for much less, Rev. E.B. Holloway and his neighbors went to a city council meeting in Greenville, South Carolina.
The city had recruited a minor league baseball team and decided to take about half of the land from Mayberry Park—a Southernside park created for black children, who were not welcome at other Greenville parks—in order to build the Meadowbrook baseball stadium. So Holloway approached the city council to ask for a new park for blacks, and to protest the taking of the land.
The mayor objected, insisting that Greenville was doing no such thing—in fact, the black community gained a baseball stadium. Holloway noted that black people weren’t even allowed to sit in the stadium’s stands.
Meadowbrook stadium stood there until it burned down in 1972.
For almost 80 years, this story was largely unknown outside of Greenville’s black community, the mayor says. Now, the city’s history of segregation will feature in the design of a long-awaited new park.
“We’re definitely telling a story that for most people in this region in this city has never been heard before,” says Knox White, longtime mayor of fast-growing Greenville.
The first phase of the new Unity Park is due to open in 2020. Unity Park will unite the two parks that were once segregated: Mayberry and nearby Meadowbrook, once a park restricted to whites. These days Meadowbrook Park is small and largely disused—many Greenville residents don’t know it exists. Mayberry Park, which has picnic tables and a baseball field, is still used.
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