Aunt Fanny Smyrna’s hut demolished

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The site where the building once stood in Smyrna could be seen razed to the ground on Friday.

SMYRNA, Ga. — Aunt Fanny’s Cabin, a restaurant that was once one of Atlanta’s best-known and featured overtly racist “Old South” themes, has been demolished.

Smyrna’s longtime fixture closed in the early 90s and had sat for decades as a low-boil tussle ensued in the city over whether to preserve it from a way or just tear it down.

Momentum to demolish the building had gathered momentum over the past year, with the city citing not only the restaurant’s problematic history, but also the “significant financial resources” they say would have been needed to restore it. and make it safe for some sort of public use.

The city transferred ownership of the building earlier this year, and the site where the building once stood could be seen leveled Friday.

The City of Smyrna said in a statement that the entity to which it transferred ownership was “unable to obtain permission to move it onto its property.”

They said they then contacted the next party in the initial bidding process, who “refused to take possession of the property.”

The city council then decided to honor a vote last year in favor of a task force recommendation to demolish the building “if there is no acceptable proposal to transfer and remove the building” – these proposals now seem exhausted.

“Fanny Williams’ honor will be substantially advanced through the work of the committee appointed by Mayor Norton to honor Fanny Williams,” the city said.

RELATED: Smyrna signals plans to demolish longtime building that housed ‘Aunt Fanny’s Cabin’ restaurant with racist themes

The restaurant began operating in the 1940s. An online history on the tomitronics website details how it flourished due to the “casual racism that characterized much of the restaurant’s decor and operation”.

This included “African-American waiters with signs hung around their necks announcing the menu” who “reassured the almost exclusively white clientele that all was well in the world even as segregation chains began to weaken everywhere in the world”. South.”

The story quotes a local black talk show host, C. Miles Smith, who once said it was “pitiful” and that “the manifest thing of little boys and nannies (waitresses) from the black menu is very insulting for black people”.

The restaurant’s central mythology also made what the city of Smyrna called in an Instagram post last year a “caricature” of a local historical figure, Fanny Williams.

Williams’ name and image were appropriated for the restaurant by the restaurant’s founder, a woman whose family employed Williams for a time as a domestic worker – at a time when such jobs were offered by wealthy white families were often used to “fulfill their Southern fantasies”. Mother of the time of slavery”, as The Washington Post once reported.

The real Fanny Williams, according to Smyrna’s statement, “had significant accomplishments through her association with Wheat Street Baptist Church, a historic African-American militant church in Atlanta of which she was a member.”

“In Cobb County, she allegedly endured the Ku Klux Klan attempting to burn a cross to intimidate her about her activities, including being a major fundraiser for Marietta’s ‘Negro Hospital’ , which opened in 1947,” the city said.

Smyrna said last year she wanted to honor Fanny Williams the person, “not the racist theme and myths of the old establishment.”

“Although sometimes seen in more glowing terms by an almost exclusively white clientele with fond memories of ‘great food’ and a ‘family vibe’, these establishments are symbols and sentiments of an era that neither represents nor honors the dignity of everyone, and certainly does not represent our community,” the city said.

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