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    Teenagers volunteer to help restore Dreamland Ballroom

    8:48 PM, Jan 20, 2014   |    comments
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    Little Rock News:

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Volunteers came together on Martin Luther King Day to help restore a historic Little Rock landmark: The Dreamland Ballroom.

    "Generations are growing up and these new children don't remember Ninth street," said Kerry McCoy. "So I think it's even more important that we save the Dreamland ballroom and tell this story."

    The Ninth street building was built in 1916. For years, it was home to prominent members of the African American community. Doctors and lawyers had office space in the building, just below the Dreamland Ballroom.

    "Ninth street was the black business district and main street was the white business district," McCoy said.

    Teenage volunteers between the ages of 12 to 19 from the Mosaic Templars came with rollers, ready to paint.

    "Learning about it, it was something amazing. I've never heard that story," said 19-year-old Jakeira Davis. "I love to volunteer and I took the opportunity because its volunteer day and I know Dr. King would want us to serve."

    The ballroom's stage saw some of music's legends like Etta James, Duke Ellington, and B.B. King.

    "You could have gotten in for a quarter just to see BB King," said Construction Director Roger McCoy.

    "It's kind of cool to be in the same place where singers and people came," said 15-year-old Danielle Washington.

    14-year-old Eriq Goode-Cohen has been volunteering on MLK day for four years.

    "What he's done for us, I mean why not go do something for him that he told us to do," he said.

    The ballroom has seen years of renovation, which Roger McCoy said have all been worth it.

    "I'd like to have been a part of that history so this is as close to that as a can get right now," he said.

    In his opinion, tradition isn't handed down to young people like it once was. And days like this, he said, are his opportunity to teach them a rich part of Little Rock's History.

    For more information on the Dreamland Ballroom, follow these links:

    https://www.facebook.com/dreamlandballroom

    http://www.dreamlandballroom.org

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