No offer for the restaurant Georgia ‘Old South’

SMYRNA, Ga. (AP) — A replica of a well-known Georgian restaurant that served Southern staples but also used racist imagery appears to be on the way to demolition despite objections from the local NAACP chapter.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week that no one showed up to bid on Aunt Fanny’s cabin in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna by Tuesday’s deadline. A task force in Smyrna had recommended that it be demolished unless someone came forward to remove it from city property.

Not a single historical group or preservation society has expressed interest in moving it, Smyrna Mayor Derek Norton told AJC. He said the city is committed to honoring Fanny Williams – the black woman whose restaurant is named.

But the Cobb County NAACP and former councilman Maryline Blackburn say the right way to go is for the city to retain ownership of the building, keep it in its current location and restore it.

“You can’t erase history,” Blackburn told AJC. “I believe the city thinks if we get rid of the shack, we’re erasing history.”

The now-defunct restaurant became a popular dining destination from the mid-1900s. Its guests included sports icons Jack Dempsey and Ty Cobb and Hollywood star Doris Day. Former President Jimmy Carter stopped at the cabin during his campaigns.

But it also adopted an “Old South” decor and theme that has been adopted by other restaurants, the AJC previously reported.

According to reports, young black people hired as servers wore wooden menu boards around their necks and danced on table tops, and the walls had framed advertisements for slaves. Williams sat on the porch in a faded dress and headscarf telling patrons about her days as a slave, although she was never a slave, according to the AJC.

Smyrna officials castigated “the caricature and manifest unworthiness of the theme of the establishment which was Aunt Fanny’s cabin”. Norton said he didn’t think preserving the cabin was a way to honor Williams.

“This is not a moment of undoing culture trying to erase our history,” he said.

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