Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Report from the S.W. Green Forum

Earlier this evening, Mr. Jari Christopher Louis Honora shared an excellent, well-researched overview of the life of Smith Wendell "S.W." Green, whose portrait stands at left.  Honora's remarks from an historian's perspective revealed just how prominent Mr. Green was at the turn of the century both in the black community locally and in the nation at large.

Perhaps the most riveting episode from his life revolved around a time in Florida when Green was arrested and nearly lynched (and was reported dead from lynching) after he took the "audacious" step of hiring his own Pullman car on a train.

The Forum, held at the historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church on N. Roman Street, also featured a video presentation by architect Kenneth Bryant, the figure most responsible for a sudden revival in interest in S.W. Green and his home at 219 S. Miro.

An air of uncertainty floated about the room after the presenters concluded - Were the assurances by the state that the house would not be demolished in writing?  How much would it cost to move the house?  Who would pay for it?  Where would it go?

Mr. Leon Waters reported that Mr. Paul Sylvester, the owner of the property, is in daily communication with the state about relocating the property and that there are no plans at present to demolish the building [*I will note that the outbuildings behind the mansion were already demolished in the past month].  He also said there is an injunction in place regarding the property - which I did not know about.

One thing was certain, however: those in attendance felt the S.W. Green House was worth saving as an important symbol of the rise of African Americans in society and in American history.

ADDED - 10:37 p.m.: Preservation Resource Center posted this 20 minutes ago on Facebook:
Breaking news: WWLTV reports that the S.W. Green house will be saved! It be moved to a site on Banks Street. We'll post as we learn more.

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