The Rise, Fall, and Improbable Comeback of Morris Brown College

On a late evening this past summer and without warning, one of the oldest buildings in Atlanta caught fire. Gaines Hall — a former dormitory on the campus of Morris Brown College — had been shuttered for years, closed when the school fell on hard times. After firefighters extinguished the two-alarm blaze, what was essentially left of the building was a charred red brick shell. The journey of Gaines Hall from dorm to fire hazard is one that spanned centuries and mirrors that of Morris Brown, the historically black college that owned it for decades.