My name is Trinity Walker. I am a resident of Mobile County, a senior in high school and an advocate for the historical preservation of our lovely city. In addition, I am an Oakleigh Belle and an Azalea Trail Maid. History has always been my passion, and through my experience as an Oakleigh Belle, I have learned that historical tourism is the heartbeat of Mobile.
Upon hearing the news of the plans to close Oakleigh, myself and my peers were all deeply saddened. I believe the decision to close Oakleigh will do more harm than it does good. This passion for my city has compelled me to address the concerns of myself and others.
Oakleigh is rich with the essence of Mobile. It is the focal point of the Oakleigh Garden District, and a step into the past for both Mobilians and tourists alike. I have seen eyes light up upon hearing the stories of Oakleigh. I have heard the fascination in the voices of our guests as they asked me to tell them more. Most importantly, I have watched people take a genuine interest in Mobile’s history.
This always meant so much to me; as a California native who always heard that the South was nothing more than racial tension and fried chicken, learning that same history for myself was eye-opening. I now know that our city is so much more, and I have fallen in love with it. To see others experience that same “aha” moment gave me hope for the continued growth of Mobile. Shutting down a vital link of this history would be a disservice. Oakleigh is that link.
Additionally, the residents of the Oakleigh Garden District will be heartbroken, as I am. Living in such close proximity to one of Mobile’s oldest and most intriguing historical sites (not to mention a historical neighborhood) is a privilege. I truly believe that these same residents would be more than willing to petition and raise money to save it.
Oakleigh is more than just an old house; it’s a tradition of preservation. How can we preserve the sanctity of our history if it is being closed off? How can we further educate the future generations of Mobile about the importance of understanding our history if there is none left to show them? This is what troubles me. History, especially the cruelties of Southern history, teaches empathy for today. History brings people together.
I ask you, with exigency, to please help in stopping the closing of Oakleigh. We need to give it a chance to bounce back, and with the support of the public, I know it is possible. People need history; people need Oakleigh.
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