Albany’s historic Harlem District revitalization in full swing after historic landmark named

Albany’s historic Harlem District revitalization in full swing after historic landmark named
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 5:23 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The owners of the Chatmon building in downtown Albany want to bring those in the Good Life City back to the historical Harlem district. This is after the building was named a historic landmark in July.

The Harlem District used to be a hub for Black businesses.

Patricia Chatmon hopes to give Albany the same experience she had growing up in the Harlem District.

Around 1956, Thomas and Alma Chatmon owned Chatmon Beauty Supply in the Harlem District downtown.

Patricia is one of the daughters of Thomas and Alma and owns the building with her siblings.

“Those businesses and many of those buildings were owned by African-American citizens, right there in Albany. During a time where segregation was the order of the day,” Patrica said.

Patrica remembers her parents’ beauty supply store as one of many businesses that made the Harlem District successful.

“My fondest memories are not just that it was a building, of course. But from a beautiful, busy and bustling area, which not only housed my parents’ building but every conceivable business in which a community needed to thrive,” she said.

Sherrell Byrd remembers the Chatmon Beauty Supply store as the place to get all her haircare needs. She has been working with the Chatmon family to begin the renewal of the Harlem district.

“So that was pivotal, during that time that Black people, again Black women, had a place to go. Where they could shop with dignity and find the products for their hair that they needed,” Byrd said.

Byrd said the Harlem District was like the Black Wallstreet of southwest Georgia. She hopes that their revitalization plan will commemorate the history, while also welcoming new Black businesses to the area.

“And so hopefully, our hope is that this could once again be an economic driver in this community,” Byrd said.

The goal is to see new faces in the Harlem District once the building is completed.