Unofficial Civil Rights Movement Headquarters To be Razed to Make Way for Dorm

Unofficial Civil Rights Movement Headquarters To be Razed to Make Way for Dorm

ATLANTA

The restaurant that served as unofficial headquarters of the civil rights movement in the 1960s will be demolished to make way for a college dormitory, officials said.

The decision to raze Paschal’s restaurant was based on finances, said its owner, Clark Atlanta University. The eatery is losing $500,000 a year, an amount that the university cannot afford to cover. Clark Atlanta itself faces a $7.5 million operating deficit.
“We understand the historic legacy of this establishment,” said university President Walter Broadnax. “But we are not restaurateurs and cannot be competitive.”
Clark Atlanta bought Paschal’s Motor Hotel and Restaurant in 1996 as a conference center and residential complex. The university obtained a demolition permit in April and was expected to close the restaurant last month. Some of Paschal’s supporters continued to insist that the restaurant be preserved.
“It is a very, very important piece of Americana, particularly Black Americana,” State Rep. Tyrone Brooks says. “We can always find land for dorms. Paschal’s is too valuable, too significant to have a bulldozer come and knock it down.”
Throughout the 1960s, the restaurant run by James and Robert Paschal, was a key meeting place for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy.
Broadnax said he understands the opposition. “People have tried to make it look like we don’t care about civil rights,” he says. “But the civil rights movement was about educating young men and women of color. Dr. King understood how important education was.”
— Associated Press



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