About Harrington's Way
Mrs. Albertha Parks, a revered elder in her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood is threatened with eviction. Her rental house is for sale; if she can’t buy it, she’ll have to move. Her neighbor, Miriam Washington, spearheads a campaign for a down-payment. Recently widowed, Miriam is busy raising her daughter’s children, and her teenage grandson can’t stay out of trouble.
After a serious injury, formerly cautious Diana Stern makes a bold move South, navigating Mrs. Parks’s neighborhood via wheelchair and electric scooter. Savannah sculptor Nate Richardson becomes Diana’s guide to understanding the past and present forces changing their city.
When their homegrown fund-raising plan stalls, the neighbors seek assistance from Harris Harrington, a retired civil rights lawyer.
A Note from the Author
I shot the cover photos, close-ups of Williams and Sons Barbershop’s air-brushed sign, painted by Jimmy Williams, one of Savannah’s talented artist/sign painters. Sadly, the sign and the Bull Street barbershop are no longer there. Just as urban renewal changed the face of West Broad Street in the 1960s, gentrification, in displacing African-American residents of downtown, is literally erasing a valuable part of Savannah’s culture.
Years ago, when I started photographing African-American advertising art with Tom Kohler, a multitude of unique, hand-painted signs by Jimmy Williams, Leonard Miller and William Pleasant decorated the fronts of barber/beauty shops, seafood emporiums, car wash/auto repair businesses, and churches on Montgomery Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Now more signs disappear every week. Close to eight hundred of these images have been preserved by Georgia Southern University as the Waddie Welcome Archive, and can be seen online at: digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/savannah-signs/
In 2013, when I began Harrington’s Way, gentrification was on a steady march, expanding east and west in downtown Savannah and creeping through the Victorian district to midtown. In 2017, efforts to build affordable housing have all but vanished as the waiting list for Section 8 vouchers hovers at 14,000 people. And as the pace of gentrification quickens and its scope widens, another Mrs. Parks is exiled to the Southside everyday, making it increasingly vital for people to know their neighbors and become civically engaged.