Bryant Gumbel on Historic Preservation
Excerpts from an interview with Bryant Gumbel on why historic preservation is important.
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Why is historic preservation important to you?
"I'm an old history major. Believe it or not, long ago, far away, I got my degree in history. So I've always had an appreciation for the past, and it's very difficult to know where you are unless you know where you've been. In this country, too many people in my opinion, can't remember past last week. The more we can take care of our enduring symbols of the past, the better off we'll be."
Why should people care about Ebenezer Baptist Church?
"I think because it forces you to confront your past. It forces you to be mindful of those who went before. It forces you to take cognizance of the trials that others faced. A lot of times in life it's easy to look around to only view things through rose colored glasses. The more you can remind people of the struggles of the past, when they can see visible symbols of it that force them to be mindful of it, the better served we all are. I think it's a pretty obvious equation.
"The Ebenezer Baptist Church was in many respects one of the foundations, you might say, of the Civil Rights movement. And it didn't necessarily only apply to Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Luther King, Sr. was a strong voice for change in Georgia out of that church when (King Jr.) was just a gleam in his father's eye. And throughout the years not only was (the church) a central point of focus for national media to come and hear the prevailing thoughts and attitudes of the time, but it was also a gathering place for those who were intimately involved in the movement. If we were to lose it, it would be a tragedy."
Why did you get involved with the Restore America: A Salute to Preservation initiative?
"I'm aware that HGTV and The National Trust for Historic Preservation got together in an attempt to save and bring attention to 12 enduring landmarks of American history. I got involved because they called and asked me if I was interested, and I said sure. The Ebenezer Baptist Church was one that struck a personal chord with me, and what little I can do to help I'm more than happy to."
Excerpts from an interview with Ali MacGraw show why she believes historic preservation is important.