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The ribbon cutting for the dedication of W.C. Handy Pool on Vine Street June 30, 1956. Rev. Austin Bell at left accepted the pool on behalf of the Black community and Goldye Alves, a member of the pool committee, was standing in for Ora K. Glass. Mayor Hecht Lackey at right. Gleaner

Frank Boyett article:

Work began on the pool in mid-August 1955. It’s not clear how much money was raised privately, but the Dec. 27, 1955, city resolution naming the pool in Handy’s honor noted the project was being done through “the help and support of W.C. Handy and those who have joined with him in the effort…. Without his generosity and faith in mankind its accomplishment would not have been possible.”

The dedication took place June 30, 1956. The improvement cost $104,000. Handy was unable to attend the dedication of the pool named in his honor, but he sent a statement that Armstrong read.

By the 1970s, however, the pool was being plagued by poor attendance and lackluster maintenance, according to City Parks Director Jerry Burton. He recommended three times that it be retired before the city commission finally closed it in mid-October 1981. It was, he said, “a reminder of a segregated society.

The pool was filled in about May 1, according to a May 8, 1986, Gleaner article about the basketball courts being moved to that site.


Gleaner, 14 Jan 2022: Frank Boyett column: Fund-raising for W.C. Handy Pool took a decade to accomplish