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Morris Brown College

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Alumni and staff of Morris Brown College are still pushing to regain accreditation.  The historically black college lost it more than a decade ago, in large part due to financial woes.

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Some Morris Brown supporters showed their loyalty at one of the school's regular cleanups Wednesday. Volunteers repainted parts of the campus and worked on other projects the college can’t get to on its limited budget.

Mimosa Hall, an antebellum home in Roswell, was designed for Roswell founding father John Dunwoody in 1840. It's currently on the market.
Courtesy of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation

Mimosa Hall, an antebellum home in Roswell, is in "pristine condition," but it's still on a new list of historic Georgia buildings deemed at risk.

Mark McDonald leads the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. He said Mimosa Hall is on its 2017 "10 Places in Peril" list because it's up for sale.

Georgia's Supreme Court ruled Monday on Clark Atlanta University's lawsuit against Invest Atlanta, which planned to buy properties it now appears Morris Brown wasn't legally allowed to sell. 

Clark Atlanta University was right to sue. That's the state Supreme Court's decision on land Clark Atlanta deeded to Morris Brown College in 1940, stipulating the property be used for "educational purposes." 

Atlantans Fight To Restore Gaines Hall After Fire

Aug 28, 2015
Morris Brown College students walk past the historic Gaines Hall on the campus in Atlanta Thursday, Sept. 10, 1998. A century after it was built to educate former slaves, Gaines Hall was crumbling. A $4 million facelift saved it from the wrecking ball.
Ric Feld / AP Photo

Gaines Hall, built in 1869 as a dorm for Atlanta University, caught fire on Aug. 20. The next day, the Atlanta Fire Department said the historic building should be torn down for safety reasons. But local preservationists immediately objected, saying Gaines Hall can and should be saved.

Atlanta has a pretty dismal record when it comes to preservation.

All too often, vacant older buildings suffer from a condition known as demolition by neglect ─ they fall victim to the elements or catch on fire ─ giving property owners an excuse to tear them down.

Morris Brown College students walk past the historic Gaines Hall on the campus in Atlanta Thursday, Sept. 10, 1998. A century after it was built to educate former slaves, Gaines Hall was crumbling. A $4 million facelift saved it from the wrecking ball.
Ric Feld / AP Photo

Historic Gaines Hall in Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood was severely damaged by fire last week. There’s still no word yet on what caused the fire that gutted the 140-year-old former Morris Brown College building, one of the city’s oldest structures.

The building was sold to the city’s economic development agency, Invest Atlanta, and Friendship Baptist Church after Morris Brown declared bankruptcy. The sale was part of the college's efforts at getting out of debt.

Chris Ferguson/WABE News

An Atlanta-based historically black college which for years has struggled financially has been sold in federal bankruptcy court.

A judge Wednesday approved the sale of most of Morris Brown College’s campus to the city of Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church, despite an objection from nearby Clark Atlanta University.

On a conference call, Judge Barbara Ellis-Monro said the $14.6 million buyout offer would help Morris Brown get back on its feet.

The sale of almost the entire campus of Morris Brown College to the city of Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church remains up in the air due to an objection from Clark Atlanta University.

Attorneys from each side argued their cases Thursday in bankruptcy court in downtown Atlanta.

Chris Ferguson/WABE News

A federal judge Thursday extended the period in which Morris Brown College has to reach a buyout deal for most of its property. The historically black college in west Atlanta is working to emerge from bankruptcy.

The two-week extension comes after Morris Brown’s main creditor objected to the $14.6 million joint offer from the city of Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church – the highest offer on the table.

Chris Ferguson/WABE News

The city of Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church have upped their offer to buy most of Morris Brown College in west Atlanta. And it appears to be the top bid for the school.

The historically black college has been working to emerge from bankruptcy since 2012.

John Lemley and Dr. Tim Crimmins in front of Stone Hall, now Fountain Hall, on the campus of Morris Brown College
Myke Johns / WABE

The 37 acre campus of Atlanta’s Morris Brown College sits largely vacant, awaiting sale.  And while the future of this nearly one hundred thirty-year-old institution is uncertain, we decided to look back at one aspect of its past. We talked to Dr. Tim Crimmins—Director of the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies at Georgia State University. We met him at Morris Brown one windy day to talk about one of the school’s most famous teachers—W.E.B. DuBois.

Chris Ferguson/WABE News

Many West Atlanta residents are cautiously optimistic about the city’s bid to buy most of Morris Brown College, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012. They believe the city will do its best to protect the legacy of the historically black college. However, several residents are less trusting about the city's intentions.

Morris Brown College

The City of Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church are offering $12.6 million to buy out nearly all of the 37-acre Morris Brown campus in west Atlanta.

The deal would allow the historic black college, which filed for bankruptcy in 2012, to retain its existing buildings.

Yesterday was the deadline set by the bankruptcy court for all offers on the property. Morris Brown attorney Renardo Hicks wouldn’t confirm or deny any offers received, but did say the school’s board and its partners would consider all options in the days and weeks ahead.

Jim Burress / WABE News

Morris Brown College’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy and eventually re-gain accreditation involves selling off a portion of the Atlanta school's assets.

“In order for us to get the resources needed, we’re going to have to divest ourselves of some of the physical assets,”  Morris Brown president Dr. Stanley Pritchett tells WABE.  

Two recent deals to liquidate property fell through. 

Morris Brown is now asking a bankruptcy court for permission to retain a real estate agent to sell 35 acres. 

Aleck Ragsdale

Atlanta-based Morris Brown College has a new plan to tackle its $34 million debt and bankruptcy.

The historic black college, founded in 1881 by freed slaves, held "A Day of Praise and Thanksgiving" in its campus gymnasium. As the service ended, Morris Brown attorney Renardo Hicks pleased the crowd with the school’s latest financial news.

Church Lowers Asking Price in Falcons Stadium Deal

Aug 16, 2013
Jim Burress/WABE News

It's not a deal.  

But Mayor Kasim Reed said at a Friday press conference there's progress in making the new Atlanta Falcons stadium a reality at the team's preferred site.

Mt. Vernon Baptist Church has lowered from $20.4 million to $15.5 million the asking price it says it needs before selling its land, Reed told reporters.  

But there's still a huge gap between that figure and the $6.2 million the Georgia World Congress Center  said is its maximum-allowed offer. 

So where will the $8-9 million to fill the gap?

Protesters gather Thursday on the steps of Middleton Towers, the vacant dormitory on Morris Brown College's Atlanta campus.  They are calling on the city and Friendship Baptist Church to keep their 'hands off' the college's property.
Jim Burress / WABE News

Morris Brown College supporters gathered on the steps of the school's towering but crumbling Middleton Tower dorms late Thursday to protest what they call a “land grab" related to the Atlanta Falcon's quest to build a new stadium. 

The team wants to construct the facility on land now owned by two churches.  

A deal with Mt. Vernon Baptist still hangs in the balance.

But the other, Friendship Baptist, could finalize a $19.5-million agreement as soon as Sunday. 

Morris Brown College Files Bankruptcy

Aug 27, 2012

Over the weekend Morris Brown College held their National Day of Prayer. However, the day of fellowship for this historic black college, was overshadowed by recent news that the 131 year old school would be facing foreclosure. 

Morris Brown, which is facing more than 30 million dollars in debt was recently served a foreclosure notice. It stated that portions of the school’s land would be sold at auction on September 4th. 

Morris Brown College

In a few weeks, some of the property and buildings on the campus of Morris Brown College are scheduled to be sold.

That’s after the college couldn’t pay back a $13 million loan.

Located in Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood, Morris Brown College was founded in 1881 by the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Ben Harrison is communications director for the AME church in Georgia.