With its position at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, coupled with a massive craving for economic and physical growth, Atlanta became known as the ‘City Too Busy To Hate’. The city was the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, as well as Sweet Auburn Avenue’s thriving African American business district. Atlanta was a place where politicians had to work alongside a coalition composed of both the wealthy white business elite and the affluent African American upper middle class. My city was seen as a shining diamond in the rough and turbulent world of integration and race relations.
All this was true, yet that same history is also marred with a pox of systematic institutional segregation, which led to the eventual ‘White Flight’ to the ever-expanding suburbs of Atlanta. While the affluent class felt the tides of change, the lower class African American community seemed to be all but forgotten for the sake of progress. The current day social makeup of the self-defined Capital of the South shows decades of progress from the former disparities, yet old scars still run deep. While the current incarnation of our ever-evolving city boasts a hard-won title of ‘The Black Mecca’, and has earned an international reputation as a bastion of diversity, there is still more growth left to be desired.
Please note, these writings are meant not as an accompaniment to these specific images below, but more as a background of my own learning process and insight into my personal headspace as I wander the streets of the city I call home and develop this long-term body of work.