Church members watch as historic landmark demolished - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Church members watch as historic landmark demolished

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

They may look like ordinary bricks, but people who were given bricks from a downtown Atlanta demolition site said they were part of a historic structure being torn down right before our eyes.

Several people cried Monday as they watched demolition crews tear down Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta's oldest African-American Baptist church.

It is being done to make way for the Atlanta Falcons' new football stadium.

"You've got the oldest congregation in the city of Atlanta and at the end of the day to compromise and it end up being a rubble pile, it's tragic," said Reginald Mohammad.

Mohammad is not a member of Friendship Baptist Church, but he said anyone with a sense of history should feel the pain of losing a historic monument that has been standing since 1879.

"Sport and play for a spiritual center that has given thousands guidance, and certainly a couple of historic black colleges evolving from friendship - again, a tragedy in black Atlanta," Mohammad said.

Last September the church's congregation voted overwhelmingly to accept the city's $19.5 million offer for the property. Some of those same church members spent the day watching as crews ripped apart and knocked down their spiritual home. It wasn't easy.

"I have to smile because I don't want to cry. This is bittersweet," said a church member who didn't want to give her name.

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