Preserve or let go: Blacks debate fate of their landmarks





TURIN, GA. - Its clapboards broken and its roof collapsed, the old "Negro school" had come to the brink of its life. But as renovations on the schoolhouse began recently ˆ a bid to safeguard and honor this tiny railroad town's black history ˆ the project ran into opposition from a surprising source: its former students.

"There's a lot of people who don't want to be involved" because of what the school symbolizes ˆ racial segregation, says Alonzo Penson, who attended the school back in the 1940s. "Black people have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go."

A nascent movement in the South and elsewhere to save what's left of African-American landmarks ˆ old cabins, juke joints, and schoolhouses ˆ is laboring to overcome a host of obstacles, not least of which is deep ambivalence among blacks themselves about preserving places associated with black oppression or discrimination.

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