Truth Hall demolition a done deal

Photo of Truth Hall courtesy

Truth Hall is the latest casualty of Florida A&M University’s ongoing demolition of older, abandoned residence halls.

Truth Hall was built in 1958 and last renovated in 1988. It slept 99 students every semester but has been closed since fall 2020.

According to FAMU, Truth Hall will be transformed into a green space.

The structure qualified for listing in the National Register of Historic Places because it is more than 50 years old. However, a lawsuit was filed to preserve the historic building. FAMU administrators determined that demolishing the dorm would be more affordable than renovating it.

Students and alumni were astonished as they witnessed the removal of the dormitory.

Graduate social work student Asia Hill says she is sad Truth Hall is no longer in existence, but she is thankful to know it was a place where thousands of people have shared so many similar experiences.

Hill lived in Truth summer of 2017 and met many lifelong friends.

“I adored my time spent in Truth Hall. That was the start of my college experience. Truth Hall gave me the opportunity to interact with others who shared my enthusiasm,” Hill said. “Truth Hall wasn’t just a dorm; Truth Hall was a home. A home for socializing, studying, laughing, crying, and most importantly, supporting and uplifting the FAMUly.”

As of 2023 Truth Hall was the last remaining female dormitory on campus before the closure of many residence halls in 2019.

McGuinn, Diamond, Wheatley and Cropper halls were all demolished in 2019.  Many students were saddened when Paddyfote, which was all girls and over 50 years old, was demolished in 2021.

Some students believed that the green area created by Paddyfote’s removal would be turned into a parking garage, but it is still vacant.

Truth Hall was given its name in honor of abolitionist and former slave Sojourner Truth, a champion of women’s rights. Throughout the nineteenth century, Truth became a vocal supporter of abolition, temperance, civil rights and women’s rights.

Tallahassee native and president of the National Association for the Preservation of African American History and Culture, Delaitre Hollinger, wanted to preserve Truth Hall because of its historical significance. Hollinger filed the lawsuit in Leon County Civil Court last year, requesting a stay of the demolition’s emergency order.

“FAMU’s central campus core was designated to be a National Historic District in 1996, and now every historic dormitory on the set has been destroyed,” Hollinger said. “I love Florida A&M University, and our history as an institution is irreplaceable.”

“No one wants our students to live in conditions that are unsafe or hazardous. That was not our request to the administration. The ask was to renovate Truth, in the same manner that Sampson and Young halls were gutted and renovated in 2010,” Hollinger added. “We must put a hard pause on these demolitions, and most important, engage the alumni who contributed to the university in the decision-making process before the decisions are made.”

Graduate student Cullanadria Cromer says Truth Hall was a great learning experience for her.

“Truth Hall taught me how to interact with personalities I had never interacted with before. It was more than just a dorm. It became a place where I learned how to socialize. This place sparked the FAMU fire within me and will forever be grateful,” Cromer said.