Laurens - Back St. and Mural
Back Street Park -- photos.
The former African-American entrepreneurship area, Back Street in Laurens, is honored with the dedication Friday morning of a small, pocket park at the intersection of Highways 221 and 76 in downtown Laurens. A list of former African-American businesses, some in operation just 20 years after the end of the Civil War and during the “separate but equal” era of recent American history, is inscribed on the park’s plaque, with a quote of the late educator/scientist Booker T. Washington -- “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” In his talk, Mayor Nathan Senn said the park stands as an inspiration to everyone that hardships can be tackled through hard work, and a representation of the contributions of Black laborers and businesspeople to the City of Laurens’ success. The mayor challenges everyone, “We must work together, putting aside any divisions, so that that story is perpetuated. We must look forward to the future recognizing that our unity and mutual respect is fundamental to our realizing the possibility of our shared country. ... Will we merely delight in the pleasure of the moment of this park’s dedication? Or will we support one another with unity of purpose and raising up the next generation to be grateful for our progress and to be the leaders of a great city, building on the foundations of the great city of Laurens? Will we do our part? Let’s come together and try.” Also participating in the dedication were Amanda Munyan, CEO & President of the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce; Columbus Stephens, McCormick County administrator; and Laurens City Manager Gary Coleman, recognizing the Historical Markers Committee and community members.
A Focal Point
Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn, Laurens County Council Member Brown Patterson, Main Street Director Jonathan Irick, and Chamber of Commerce CEO Amanda Munyan are among those participating Friday afternoon in the dedication of the City of Laurens' newest focal point - The Pride of the Piedmont Mural at Elite Home Care & Day Centers. Near the intersection of Highways 76 and 221, the mural already has attracted many people taking "selfies," Senn said. It is the first of what Laurens hopes to be several community promotional and historic scenes murals and public art, Irick said. The mural artist is Adam Schrimmer, of Blank Canvas Mural Co., Greenville. The mural and Back Street Park dedications are part of Friday and Saturday's fall festival in the City of Laurens, with COVID-19 precautions. - Photos by Vic MacDonald