A photo of the Roxy courtesy of Sue Kaplan, daughter of the former owner. Note a house still sits where a power substation shows up in later photos.

Loose Ends & Old Memories

As the semester starts to wind down so does this project and after weeks of digging through Macon’s history, our class has gone about as far as we can in digging into the Roxy’s past. Now, we are drawing our attention more closely to the experiences of those who spent time in the Roxy at its prime, as well as a neighboring community that played a big role in Macon’s history.

Last week we had the opportunity to hear Alice Bailey and Leroy Thomas Sr. revive their memories of the Roxy and the surrounding area. Both Bailey and Thomas spoke to us about the once thriving Tybee neighborhood, and the social and economic factors that went into the neighborhood’s decline. Bailey also reflected on her first date at the theater while Thomas spoke of seeing several films at the Roxy as well. Sarah Pounds and Jackson Dillard are currently working on transcribing these interviews for later updates.

I spoke to Ron Wheeler, a music manager in Orlando, Florida, about his time in Macon. Wheeler has performed with Otis Redding, along with several other music groups. He fondly remembers Otis Redding’s performances and that the Roxy acted as a racial melting pot for Macon.

In addition to this information, Ireal James has spoken to Ruth Hill, Helen Smith and Patricia Harris at the senior center about their experiences at the Roxy. Jenna Eason and Sarah Pounds have spoken to Sarah Gerwig-Moore who elaborated on the process of getting a building recognized as a historical landmark. All of these interviews will be discussed in later updates.

In the coming weeks, our class will be collecting as many stories about the Roxy as possible. Josh Brown will be talking to Newt Collier within the next week. We also are trying again to set up interviews with Hamp Swain (thanks to Jenna Eason), Dr. Katie White (thanks to Parker Van Riper) and members of the Kaplan family (thanks to Emanuela Rendini and Avery Braxton).

We also were able to borrow a couple of photos from Sue Kaplan, the daughter of former owner Phil Kaplan. Interestingly, those photos show houses on both sides of the Roxy (one is pictured at the top of this update). For comparison, we included a later photo showing the house gone and a power substation in its place.

Avery and Emanuela will be looking up the different films depicted on the marquees so we can narrow down when the area started to change.

Make sure to check in next week for another update on the progress we’ve made!

Have ideas for who we should contact? Have some information yourself? We’d love to know more! Leave a comment and we will be sure to get back to you. You can also email us at RememberingTheRoxy@gmail.com or #RememberRoxy

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