The looming demolition of a history-laden home on the Fisk University campus triggered surprise and a petition over the weekend.
At stake is the future of the 1938 Boyd House, which was home to one of the city’s most prominent Black families.
The university was granted a demolition permit earlier this month and has hired a Cheatham County company to carry it out.
But while petitioners worried the teardown could be imminent, the Metro Historical Zoning Commission had already issued a 90-day hold on demolition.
By 4:30 p.m. Monday, the petition had topped 1,400 signatures in opposition. And the area’s councilmember, Freddie O’Connell, says he’s trying to facilitate talks to save the home.
One of my weekend projects is working with the Boyd family (who are willing to buy it) to prevent this demolition.
— Freddie #StayHome O’Connell (@freddieoconnell) August 30, 2020
The petition describes the site as “a sacred part of North Nashville’s built environment.”
“Every brick, block, shingle and beam that continues to hold up this house is a testament to their lives and stands as a monument to the triumphs, joys and sorrows that define the African American experience in Nashville,” says the petition that’s being spearheaded by Learotha Wiliams, a Tennessee State University assistant professor.
The home at 1601 Meharry Blvd. was where Henry Allen Boyd and Georgia Boyd lived. She was an activist for gender and racial equity; he was a bank president, newspaper publisher and leader in the National Baptist Convention.
Property records appraise the two-story brick home and its quarter-acre corner lot at $400,600.
Yet the home was severely gutted by a fire in the 1980s and has been deteriorating beneath a leaky roof in recent years.
The university, which has worked to preserve other historic buildings around campus, did not respond Monday to questions from WPLN News.
This is a developing story that has been updated.