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Community receives honor

Pension Row resident Frank Langford stands in front of the placard, which the city dedicated to the historic neighborhood Oct. 2

Madison’s historic black community, Pension Row, was honored with an Alabama historic marker Saturday, Oct 2.

“I was glad to see that people showed up at the dedication,” said District 1 Councilman Tim Holcombe, who represents the area. “It was well received and the residents were pleased that we had honored the area. It was good to see they appreciated it.”

Civil War soldiers lived on the land after they came back from war and were given a small piece of property and a pension.

The marker is located on the corner of Mill Road and Pension Row.

Holcombe said the city council was deciding on which area in town to honor and it “made the most sense” to recognize Pension Row.

“Madison city leaders decided to honor the many contributions from African-American community of the Pension Row area over the past 140 years,” he said.

Mayor Paul Finley was on hand to unveil the plaque and read the inscription, along with other city leaders and residents of Pension Row.

One of those residents was former city employee Frank Langford. Langford, who has purchased his Pension Row home from his aunt in 1987, said he thinks it’s great that the city is recognizing the historically black neighborhood.

“It (the event) was exciting because they finally took the area into consideration,” Langford said. “I think it’s great—there’s a lot history here.”

Last year, Gov. Bob Riley declared 2010 as the “Year of Alabama Small Towns and Downtowns,” and part of that initiative included a “Great Alabama Homecoming” program, which included Madison, as well as 215 other towns.

Holcombe said as part of that state program, each city or town was offered the opportunity to apply for a plaque funded and provided by the state of Alabama commemorating an event or area of significance to the community.

“For maximum visibility, it was decided that this plaque will be installed here at the intersection of Pension Row and Mill Road,” Holcombe said.

He also thanked residents for their “continued support as the city progress on our mission to improve the quality of life for every Madison resident.”

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