We had the opportunity to discuss the issues surrounding The Hotel Dumas with The Legacy Group, Inc. During its prime, The Hotel Dumas was frequented by iconic guests such as: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller Ethel Waters, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and more!
During a time, not long ago, when African Americans traveled by “sunset” and relied on the “Green Book” for safe places to layover, rest, and sleep while traveling, The Hotel Dumas was a popular Virginia location.
According to Chair, Mrs. Shumra Glenn and Board Member Mr. Martin Jeffrey, The Hotel Dumas has an uncertain future, due to advancing community wealth, and redlining; which has long plagued Black Communities.
What has been lost already?
Mrs. Glenn: “Sixteen homes, mostly homeowners, 26 Churches--2 were new construction, five Schools, 1200 graves desecrated-dug up and put in a mass grave on the outside of town, and over 290 businesses were destroyed through eminent domain, and massive displacement of their primary customer base.
This also resulted in the loss of generations of family wealth. That wealth would sent kids to school and started businesses, tamed unemployment, poverty and crime...
The economic, social and spiritual impact is still being felt in Black Roanoke decades later--NO building in downtown is owned by anyone black, the current number of businesses in NW still fall short of where it could be . Redlining by banks complicit in the racist discriminating "Star City of the South" remains the front line of resistance to black progress."
Why is it important to save The Hotel Dumas?
Mrs. Glenn: “The Dumas then and now represents the symbol and central hub of black possibilities.”
What would you like to see happen?
Mrs. Glenn: “The nonprofit TAP should honor its mission which is to assist communities like Roanoke's Black community to get this project done. TAP is a CDFI with hundreds of thousands of dollars it can loan the community corporation, The Dumas Hotel, Inc.
TAP, a "community action (anti-poverty) agency" as given the building, then raised just over five million dollars using the area and Dumas black history.”
How can readers across Virginia help you?
Mrs. Glenn: “Contribute donations to help us raise $150,000 to match a City grant and complete financing for the project. They can visit our facebook page for ways to donate. Donations are tax-deductible through our non profit The Dumas Legacy Center, Inc.”