The traditional segregation of Mobile’s two main Mardi Gras organizations was at the forefront of a debate Tuesday morning over the proposed sale of the Mobile Carnival Museum building on Government Street.
The city is looking for approval from the council to sell the building to the Mobile Carnival Association, which has represented some of the city’s Mardi Gras parading societies that either have been or currently are all white. The deal would net the city the $301,000 sale price and would also pass the responsibility of maintenance of the building to the MCA.
Brad Christensen, the city’s director of asset management, called the deal a “win-win” for the city. Christensen added that a requirement of the deed would be to maintain the building as a public museum.
Councilman Fred Richardson said he was concerned that if the building was sold to a private entity, they might change what’s inside the museum. Specifically, he was concerned that MCA might remove images, items and artifacts related to the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association, which represents some of the city’s parading societies that either have been or currently are all black.
When other councilors, like President Gina Gregory, assured Richardson that the current MCA leadership had no desire to discontinue its relationship with MAMGA, Richardson seemed to imply that future generations could be so inclined.
“They might say that, but their great grandchildren might not,” Richardson said.
Councilman Joel Daves said there is currently no law requiring MCA to display items from their organizations and MAMGA organizations, but everyone is represented now.
“I don’t see any reason they change that,” Daves said.
Councilman Levon Manzie, who represents the downtown area, also said he supported the sale.
As it does with most items new to the agenda, the council held the proposal over for one week in order to gather more information.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced that the visitor center would be moving from its current home inside Fort Conde to the History Musuem of Mobile. The new visitor center would open Monday at 9 a.m., he told councilors.
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