Where is Macon’s Black Wall Street? Commission debates Greenwood Bottom designation

Macon-Bibb County Commissioners approved airport expansion firms, City Hall upgrades, Complete Streets plan, anti-violence campaign



Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Paul Bronson, left, explains his rationale for designating Greenwood Bottom as Macon’s Black Wall Street. Commissioner Elaine Lucas believes Cotton Avenue is the true origin of the city’s African American entrepreneurship.

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Paul Bronson’s plan to revitalize the city’s “Black Wall Street” led to lengthy debate in Tuesday’s meetings.

Bronson secured a $30,000 Downtown Challenge 2.0 grant to designate several blocks near the old Roxy Theatre, the so-called “MLK Small and Minority-owned Business District,” as “Macon’s Black Wall Street.”

The grant will develop a site plan for the old Greenwood Bottom area from Hawthorne Street to Concord Street between Third and Fifth streets.

Commissioner Elaine Lucas noted that many consider Cotton Avenue the city’s “Black Wall Street.”

The resolution refers to the Tulsa Massacre of 1921 in the area of that city known as Black Wall Street. “Upwards of 300 residents, mostly black, were slain in the Tulsa race massacre…,” it reads.

Some commissioners voiced support for the project to encourage growth in that area of downtown Macon, but objected to perceived negative connotations of using that name.

The commission approved the designation, with commissioners Valerie Wynn and Mallory Jones voting against it because of the “Black Wall Street” association, they said.

The $30,000 grant also was accepted.

Commissioner Lucas tried to get commissioners to reconsider the designation due to concerns about Cotton Avenue and predicted there would be changes made to the legislation once the research was done.

Tuesday, commissioners had a full agenda for the morning Committee of the Whole and conducted a public hearing for the 6-year renewal of the Eisenhower Business Improvement District after a lunch break.

No one from the public submitted any comments about the renewal, which was approved in a special called meeting of the full commission.

All items passed by the committee in the morning were ratified in the afternoon called meeting. Highlights of issues approved and debated are found in this compilation of Tweets during the meeting.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission held its regular meeting Tuesday because they will not meet July 6 due to the Independence Weekend.