Push for civil rights center in Petersburg | News
PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT)- There's a push for a civil rights center and museum in Petersburg.
A non-profit group is working with the city to turn the old Trailways Bus station into a place that chronicles the historical movement.
The former bus station has been fixture on Washington Street in Petersburg for more than 70 years.
During the civil rights movement business inside the bus station was considered separate but equal.
"There were two bathrooms here for blacks only. This was the black only side and that was the whites only side," said Mary Howard, Chair of the non-profit group, Petersburg Communities.
Decades later, the building is vacant.
But Howard hopes to change that.
"I can see people coming in this door. I can see seating here where we can show our documentary," she explained.
Howard wants to turn the building into a civil rights center and museum.
"It plays such a vital part during the civil rights movement. Dr. King was here 13 times.," said Howard.
The non-profit group says the center would generate revenue for the city, enhance tourism, and educate the community.
"The civil rights history of Petersburg needs to be told. It should be on the civil rights trail, Howard added."
The city owns the building and is in talks with the non-profit group .
"Our goal is to bring everybody together to interpret the history of the building and to bring it back to its structure in the community," said Petersburg Mayor, Brian Moore.
The effort is in its infancy stage. It has not been presented to city council, just yet.
Right now, Howard is hoping to gather community support.
Petersburg Communities will hold a forum on Thursday October 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to discuss the possibility of a civil rights center.
The forum will be held at Tabernacle Baptist Church on Halifax Street. The public is encouraged to attend.
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
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