Center of Hope Community Baptist Church:
Thursday, August 28, 2014

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Haley Farm Tour

CDF Haley Farm: Home of the Movement to Leave No Child Behind.

The Children's Defense Fund purchased this farm from the estate of the late Alexander Murray Palmer Haley in 1994.  This site serves as CDF's church, school for life, center for spiritual renewal, character and servant-leadership development building, community building, intergenerational mentoring, interracial and interdisciplinary communication.  CDF's logo is a drawing of a small boat on water with the caption, "Dear Lord, be good to me, the sea is so wide and my boat is so small."  A small child sits in the boat.  This logo exemplifies CDF's Leave No Child Behind mission to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage into adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.  Haley Farm is a smoke-free, drug and alcohol-free, violence-free, hate-free, loving environment.


Entering In

This is the sign that greets visitors as they enter the Farm.  It summarizes the Farm's environment and conduct expectations. 

Entering In

Haley Lodge

Visitors head to the Haley Lodge.  Haley Lodge was built in 1989 by Mr. Haley to accomodate the many guests he liked to entertain on the Farm.  Upstairs, there are 6 bedrooms with private baths and one three-room suite.  The downstairs area boasts a large meeting/dining area, a private dining room or boardroom, a comfortable sunroom known as the Comer Room, 3 bathrooms, and a large commercial style kitchen.  Haley Lodge was the second structure Alex Haley had erected on the Haley Farm.

Haley Lodge

Sitting at the Lodge

This is the sitting area of the Haley Lodge.

Sitting at the Lodge

The Duck House

This house was Mr. Haley's place to come when he wanted to have relaxation time.  He loved mallard ducks, and this house was originally done in mallard duck decor.  The telephone even looked like a duck and "quacked" instead of ringing.  Before renovations to add an additional bedroom onto the house we begun, there was a screened-in porch with a hot tub.  Louis Gosset, Jr. and his former wife, Cynthia, spent 10 days in the Duck House in January of 1991.  Mrs. Sammy Davis, Jr. and her stepson also spent time in the Duck House after the death of Mr. Davis.  David Stephens, writer of the TV mini series, Queen, spent weeks at a time in the Duck House working on the script for that movie.  Queen, which originally aired in 1994 after Mr. Haley's death, was based on the life of his grandparents.

The Duck House

Fireside

Fireside

Approaching the White House

This is the view as one approaches the White House.

Approaching the White House

The White House

When Alex Haley purchased this property on June 19, 1984, this farmhouse was one of only two structures on the property.  This farmhouse has been unoccupied for nearly 30 years, and animals roamed freely throughout the house.  Construction on the farmhouse had begun in 1830.  It was at first a small cabin with one large room downstairs and two small rooms upstairs.  In the 1870s, as the family grew and became more prosperous, the front of the house was added to the original structure, forming a T.  This type of addition was referred to as 'crossing the T.'  When Mr. Haley bought the property, the house had no indoor plumbing, thus no inside bathroom, and no electricity.  The floors had rotted and the chimney had collapsed.  Although restoring the house was not cost-effective, Mr. Haley never considered tearing it down due to his love and appreciation for the history of the house and the lives that had been lived there.  The renovation cost well into six figures.  Donna Kindrick, the farmhouse's renovator, used to say local residents looked at her as if she were completely insane for taking on the project (Donna sometimes agreed with this assessment of her sanity at various times during the renovation process).
 
Mr. Haley's former wife, Mia, nicknamed the house "Annie."  She thought that the name "Annie" evoked the stable and peaceful feeling that the house gave her.  Special guests of Mr. Haley's who spent time in the White House are Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, country-western singer Tom T. Hall, and former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander.  Lamar Alexander was a guest here at the Farm when contacted by then President Geaorge Bush, Sr. asking him to serve as Secretary of Education.  Other VIPs who have stayed in other guesthouses on the Farm include Quincy Jones, ABC weatherman and sportscaster Spencer Christian, and a large portion of the original Roots cast.  After having the White House renovated, Mr. Haley did not enjoy living in this house because of the steep staircase and the fact that there were no closets in the house. 

The White House

Riggio Lynch Chapel

The Riggio-Lynch Chapel was made possible by the generosity of Barnes & Noble CEO Leaonard Riggio and his wife, Louise.  After the events of Sept. 11, Mr. Riggio said he felt the need to do something to establish a place for people to find comfort, peace, and to be renewed and strengthened.  Maya Lin, who also designed the Langston Hughes Library here at the Haley Farm, designed the Riggio-Lynch Chapel.  To our knowledge, Haley Farm is the only site in the country with two Maya Lin structures.
 
The interdenominational chapel is named in honor of Leaonard Riggio and William (Bill) Lynch, former Deputy Mayor of New York City.  Mr. Riggio and Mr. Lynch are both former CDF board members and long-time supporters of CDF.  During the dedication service for the chapel on July 23, 2004, Len Riggio made the following statment: "In the ark design, Maya Linn has created a new mataphor for the Haley Farm Freedom School and a lasting symbol of our covenant to finish the unfinished work of the Civil Rights Movement.  The chapel is a place of safety and shelter for the hundreds of young people who come to Haley Farm each year to learn, worship, and train to become the next generation of leadership for children and families." 
 
The chapel resembles a huge ark, carrying all of the world's children to safety.  The Chapel's simple, soaring shape evokes the ark of protection, the fishermen's boats that figured in Jesus's ministry, and the small boat drawn by seven-year-old Maria Cote featured in the Children's Defense Fund's logo.  The chapel in constructed of cypress siding with a fir roof deck and beams.  An open Courtyard links the Chapel's main structure to a smaller, concrete building, which houses an office, a meeting room, kitchen facilities, bathrooms, and a chapel bell tower.  The concrete block building, was designed to resemble the type of building found in many shipyards where equipment and supplies are kept.

Riggio Lynch Chapel

The Bethune-Height House

Also known as the "Lil' Log Cabin," this house was discovered by Mr. Haley while visiting a local museum, The Museum of Appalachia, which specializes in preserving the history of the Appalachian region.  Mr. Haley was able to purchase the cabin from the museum owner and had it brought to the farm and reassembled.  The side addition was not original to the cabin, but was added during the process of remodeling the cabin to add another bedroom.  The cabin was brought from Roane County, Tennessee, and originally belonged to the family of the late Texas Senator Sam Rayburn.  It is believed that Sam Rayburn (1882-1961) was born in the cabin.
 
In July 2001, this was renamed the Bethune-Height House in honor of Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1995) and Dorothy Height (1912-Present).  Ms. Bethune founded Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls (now Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida) in 1904.  The story is that Ms. Bethune started this school with the money she made from selling sweet potato pies that she baked.  She organized the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) in 1934 and was appointed by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt as Director of African-American Affairs for his administration.  Dorothy Irene Height has continued the work started by Bethune and has served for many years as President of the NCNW (1957-1997).  During the Civil Rights Movement, Height organized "Wednesdays in MIssissippi," which brought together black and white women from the North and South to create a dialogue of the understanding.  Ms. Height has served as councel to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, encouraged Pres. Eisenhower to desegregate public schools, and worked with Pres. Lyndon Johnson to secure appointments for African-American women to important government positions.

The Bethune-Height House

Norton Pond & the Gazebo

The Pond was dug in 1985.  The bottom of the Pond is packed with red clay, a common technique used in Tennessee to help retain water.  The bridge and gazebo across the pond were completed in 1989.  The pond was home to the many mallard ducks that Mr. Haley loved and 2 white swans.  Mr. Haley had the pond stocked with catfish for his guests who liked to fish.  During the mating season, the geese use the pond as their motel.  There have been up to 500 geese counted relaxing on the pond.  A beautiful sight to behold is a flock of geese making a landing on the pond with water spraying everywhere.  The Langston Hughes Library is cooled and heated through a geo-thermal cooling system using water from the pond.
 
Mr. Haley loved to entertain when he had time.  He particularly liked to entertain people from the movie and publishing industry as he felt that they seldom had the opportunity to be exposed to this type of country atmosphere.  It was nothing for Mr. Haley's staff to prepare a catfish fry in front of the barn (now called the Langston Hughes Library) using larger. black, iron posts set on bricks bubbling with beans, hushpuppies, catfish, and corn-on-the-cob.  There would usually be a band playing from the gazebo.  Wagons were hooked up to the tractors, and hayrides around the farm were a common thing to see during these parties.

Norton Pond & the Gazebo

Norton Pond & the Gazebo

A second view.

Norton Pond & the Gazebo

Norton Pond & the Gazebo

A third view.

Norton Pond & the Gazebo

Norton Pond & the Gazebo

A fourth view.

Norton Pond & the Gazebo

The Bridge

The bridge that goes through the Gazebo and across the pond, connecting both parts of the Farm.

The Bridge

The Bridge

Another view of the long bridge that stretches across the pond.

The Bridge

Round the Bend

Round the Bend

Early Spring

A view of the pond and some of the trees that are already blooming.

Early Spring

The Farm at Evening

The Farm at Evening

Langston Hughes Library

The sign outside the Langston Hughes Library.

Langston Hughes Library

Langston Hughes Library

Langston Hughes Library

Langston Hughes Library

Langston Hughes Library

Relaxing at the Library

Relaxing at the Library

M.L. King Documentary

A Martin Luther King, Jr. documentary at the library.

M.L. King Documentary

M.L. King Documentary

M.L. King Documentary

M.L. King Documentary

M.L. King Documentary

M.L. King Documentary

M.L. King Documentary

Maya Angelou & John Hope

Maya Angelou & John Hope

Toni Morrison & Dorothy Height

Toni Morrison & Dorothy Height

The Reading Room

The sign for the John Hope Franklin and Maya Angelou Reading Room, which is located within the Langston Hughes Library.

The Reading Room

Books

Books

Books

Books

Books

Books

Books

Books

The Middle Passage

The Middle Passage

Greetings Getting Off Bus

As CDF Project Directors unload from the bus in front of the Farm, they are greeted warmly by other CDF Directors via song and dance. 

Greetings Getting Off Bus

Greetings Getting Off the Bus 2

Greetings Getting Off the Bus 2

Dr. Middleton-Hairston & Tracee Perryman-Stewart

Tracee Perryman-Stewart (CFS Executive Director), right, with Dr. Middleton-Hairston (CDF National Director).

Dr. Middleton-Hairston & Tracee Perryman-Stewart

Leading Lady Perryman

Center of Hope's Leading Lady Perryman (CHFS Site Coordinator), pauses for reflection at the Farm.

Leading Lady Perryman

CDF Director Activities

CDF Director Activities

CDF Skit

CDF Skit

Dancing & Prancing

Dancing & Prancing

CDF Skit

CDF Skit

Skits and Singing

Skits and Singing

Workshop

Workshop

Break Time

Break Time

Song and Dance

Song and Dance

Finished for the Day

Finished for the Day