VERIFY: What is the history of the waiting room engraving at Terminal Station?

Terminal station history

The discussion about Confederate statues had many of you on Facebook asking about another display in downtown Macon.

Robert Potts posted on our Facebook page saying, “Could y’all do a story on this engraving downtown at the DMV office? I just saw a friend post it and I'm in shock, it needs to be removed or at least covered.”

Mufti Sammy later posted on our story after Bibb County lawyers looking into moving the statues and asked, “Do any of you Caucasians have a problem with the ‘Colored Waiting Room’ on the front of the Macon Terminal Station downtown? Or is this also history and I just need to appreciate it?”

We wanted to verify the history behind the sign.

Indeed, you will see the words ‘Colored Waiting Room’ carved in stone at Terminal Station.

A plaque at Terminal Station says the engraving has been there since the construction of the building in 1916 as required under Jim Crow laws, and the building wasn't desegregated until the 1960s.

Following the desegregation of Terminal Station, the engraving would remain covered by a sign for years until mayor C. Jack Ellis uncovered it when he took office in 1999.

We tracked down archive footage from 2011 of Ellis explaining why it was uncovered.

“I called for Public Works to bring a truck down here and lift me up, literally lift me up. and I took a crowbar and I uncovered it. When people put that in stone, they meant for it to stay that way,” said Ellis.

Ellis said that he wanted to make sure younger African Americans knew the struggles their elders had been through.

Morgan Brann had this advice under Mufti Sammy’s post, “It serves as a reminder also in the sense that we as a country should not repeat mistakes made in the past: History forgotten tends to repeat itself."

Donna Sant agreed with Brann by saying she was shocked the first time she saw it and that it definitely hit home about how divided we were.

“It made me sad, but I do not think it should be removed,” said Sant.

Steven Livingston said the sign should go, but the statues should remain. He encouraged people to direct their energy to clean up our neighborhoods, help the elderly, and feed the homeless.

Be a part of the discussion, like our Facebook page and your comments may be used on-air.

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