Racist Language in Deed for Huntsville School Property - FOX 54 WZDX – Huntsville News, Weather and Sports

Racist Language in Deed for Huntsville School Property

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The Goldsmith-Schiffman Athletic Field has been used by Huntsville City Schools for decades.

"The property, from my understanding, was deeded over to Huntsville City Schools back in 1935, somewhere in that time frame," explained School Board President Laurie McCaulley.

But when the land was given to the school system, the deed had a few provisions. The deed states that the field must be used for educational athletic purposes, if not; ownership would revert back to the family.

The Huntsville School System stopped using the field for football games this year.

"This season we entered into a contract with Alabama A&M to help utilize that stadium so that our high school varsity games are mainly played there," explained McCaulley.

Since learning that the school system is no longer using the field, family attorneys have contacted the board about the future of the field. That is when the school board learned of another stipulation in the deed.

"As we were being refreshed on the deed we noticed that it mentioned there that it was for white students only," McCaulley said.

The deed, drafted in 1934, says that the field is to be used for educational athletic purposes and only by white students. The language is outdated, illegal, and cannot be enforced, but McCaulley says she thinks it should have been removed a long time ago.

"What's more than shocking is that we haven't went back and corrected the language because it doesn't represent Huntsville and it doesn't represent the society that we live in today."

And people in the community agree.

"Having that deed saying just for whites only for that football field, that's just racism," said Huntsville resident Melissa Robinson.

The school system has never stopped children of any race from playing on the field in the past few decades.

"We never, to my knowledge, in the last decade have ever adhered to that provision at all because at Huntsville City Schools all of our facilities will be open to all children," McCaulley said.

"I think it's a shame that it would be listed that way and I'm happy to hear that it has never been enforced," Heather Kilgore who lives just across the street from the field. She says whatever the school board decides to do with the field she hopes it remains a historical site.

The board has no plans to use the field anytime soon.

"Right now I think, because it's not in our five year capital plan, if the family is adamant about getting it returned to them then we must abide by what's in writing," said McCaulley.

The board has not yet addressed the issue but has been consulting with their attorney.

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