Black History Month: the history of Edmonton Heights in Huntsville
“The story of Edmonton Heights, the first African American neighborhood in Huntsville.”
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Each day hundreds of people drive past Alabama A&M University, not knowing the rich history along Meridian Street. There’s a community known as Edmonton Heights which is across the street and in the shadows of the university.
Eddgra Fallin took WAFF 48 on a walk down memory lane, in a Huntsville community she knows well, known as Edmonton Heights.
“This is the only place if you were not from Huntsville and you did not own property, this was the first and only place that I know of that was developed strictly for Blacks,” said Fallin.
The homes along Meridian Street, Eton Road and Whitney Avenue are where some of the most prominent African Americans from Huntsville lived.
“The Fletcher House, Mr. Norman Fletcher, he was a mathematician for NASA and he’s probably the reason people went to the moon. We have Mr. Ford; I went to his house and there were all kinds of recognitions from Dr. Von Braun,” said Fallin. “Of course, there’s the home of the first and only Black dentist back then. We could have historical markers of who’s who.”
Fallin also showed us the home where actor Reggie Cathey grew up, and where the first black quarterback for the University of Tennessee grew up, all, in the Edmonton Heights community.
Last year, the National Park Service added the Heights to the National Registry of Historic Places.
“It means our history will be recorded for generations and we’ll be able to tell all the children our story. The story of Edmonton Heights, the first African American neighborhood in Huntsville,” said Fallin.
Edmonton Heights even has a Facebook page, where you can learn more about some of the first homeowners in this community. Eddgra Fallin is one of the administrators.
“All three of my children were born in this house,” said Fallin. “There’s a history here, a rich history.”
Sadly, some of the history is getting replaced. Where there is construction today, was Fellowship Presbyterian Church. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent the night at the previous building when he visited Huntsville.
But not all construction is bad, Eddgra Fallin says some of the historic homes need to be fixed.
“Integration came and people started moving out. The original homeowners like my parents and stuff started moving out, and a lot of it became rental property, and the neighborhood began to decline,” said Fallin.
She hopes this historical neighborhood will get some TLC. Now that you know the rich history, maybe it will.
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