GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) – We follow the memorial garden set up to honor pillars in Gaffney’s black history.
Back in January, $350,000 was allocated from the funds to help fight the disease COVID-19 to create the Glymph Memorial Garden.
After public opinion, back in March, the garden is almost finished.
The monument was erected near Gaffney’s former black business district until it was destroyed by fire. The groups behind it say it will be a place to reflect on the black pioneers who helped make Gaffney what it is today.
dr. Kim Smith is a donor whose family and church have a brick in the garden.
“The black economy was located here. And he needs recognition,” Smith said.
What was once dirt now has a fully built monument complete with a brick path and seating.
Councilor Millicent Norris put a lot of effort into making this happen.
“The bricks represent the businesses that were in this area — the Black Business District. And we also have family bricks,” said Norris.
The intersection of N. Petty Street and ELM Rosemond Lane was a thriving neighborhood full of black businesses decades ago, such as Foster’s Funeral Home, Dr. Norris’ Office and Clarence Glymph’s Market—after which the project was named.
Jamil Dyair Steele is the artist behind the mural.
“In the 1940s, that was a difficult task, given that we didn’t have much in the African-American community. So I want to tell that story,” Steele said.
All that remained was to finish the mural. It’s a job Steele doesn’t take lightly — commuting from Charlotte while being a teacher.
“You’re actually going to see roots going into the ground,” Steele said, “And under the ground, they’re going to run through the entire mural. And on every root there will be family names.”
And it will stretch from the image of Gaffney peach trees.
Some call the black business district “Spade Town,” but Smith sees more than that.
“It’s wonderful,” Smith said, “It’s just something this area needs. I call it Black Wall Street. It’s not Spade Town.”
Now there is light for untold history – commemorating people who may have been forgotten for generations to come.
“It’s very meaningful to me because my uncle, Tom Greene, was one of the first black city councilmen to be sworn in,” Norris said, “So to me it’s like Glymph’s dream was to be on the city council. . And we honor the people who made that dream come true.”
Steele says the art should be finished in early 2023. There will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony in March. A year has passed since the open door of the idea.
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