The wooden doors that are bolted to a house in Birmingham, Tennessee are a kind of symbol of the state’s history.
The doors are the oldest of their kind, dating to the 1800s and the first in the United States.
In the early 20th century, Birmingham’s white residents began replacing the wooden doors with metal ones.
The metal doors were a way to segregate African Americans from the white population, and the doors were quickly replaced by a wood door that was cheaper and more durable.
Today, the wooden door in Birmingham is in need of replacement and will be removed sometime this year.
For decades, the doors have been covered with graffiti, but this year they will have a canvas covering to protect them.
The Birmingham Times of the day in 1919 reported that a man named Harry W. “Bill” Smith, who was a former slave, had painted the doors with the words “Hail, Birmingham!”
“He painted the door, and we got the idea of covering the doors,” said a woman named Dorothy Miller.
Miller said she came across the graffiti while cleaning up graffiti on the doors.
She said she did not know the origins of the graffiti.
“It was just a simple piece of graffiti,” she said.
“It was kind of an easy thing to do.”
Miller said she and other residents cleaned up the graffiti and placed it in a storage area.
A few days later, Smith, 72, went to a local church and painted the words: “Hallelujah, Birmingham.”
Smith died in 1915 and his family moved to the city about a year later.
Smith was the second man to paint the doors after a Confederate soldier named George H. Davis, who also painted the old wooden doors.
Davis was executed for the crimes, but the door graffiti was left in the city.
After Smith’s death, the door was painted over and the graffiti was scrubbed away.
The doors have not been replaced in decades, and a large plaque that sits on the door reads: “In honor of our departed friend, Harry W Smith, Birmingham City of Birmingham.”
The Birmingham Public Library also has a statue of Smith.
More from The Times: Smith and Davis were both convicted of the crimes of robbing the owners of the old black and white homes in the neighborhood, and Davis’ execution came two years after the end of the Civil War.