“Forever I Love Atlanta”Former mayor Ivan Allen Jr., left, and mayor Maynard Jackson seen on September 25, 1974 in Atlantaq. (AP Photo/Chuck Vollertsen,AJC staff) /Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
By Floyd Hall, in partnership with Central Atlanta Progress
It always feels like a unique birthright to be born in Atlanta. This energy in this city is different. We’ve done things differently for a long time and for most of my life, I don’t think I ever understood how Atlanta became so special. What makes Atlanta natives so proud to be from here? What makes so many people from other places want to come here? It wasn’t until I started to travel to other places that I realized the reason for Atlanta’s uniqueness: leadership.
The courage and vision of leadership in Atlanta, politically and culturally, has created an atmosphere that pushes people here to do the unexpected. From the Civil War to Civil Rights, from being a transit hub to a Hip-Hop hub, Atlanta’s legacy of leaders has helped foster a one-of-a-kind history for the city on a national and international stage.
But it wasn’t always that way. This place once known as Terminus didn’t become what it is by accident, and the path wasn’t always perfect or straight.
The 1996 Gary M. Pomerantz book, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn: A Saga of Race and Family, provides one of the most fascinating snapshots of Atlanta history that I’ve ever encountered. I recently read this book for the first time, and I learned so much about my hometown that I never knew. In reading Pomerantz’ words the names on the streets and buildings around the city come alive and more importantly, I got a really amazing education on “how Atlanta became Atlanta” through the lives of Mayors Ivan Allen, Jr. and Maynard Jackson and their respective families.
Thus, in consideration of that book, I’m excited to host and produce the Atlanta Legacy Makers podcast in conjunction with the Atlanta Legacy Makers initiative, a partnership between Central Atlanta Progress and the City of Atlanta.
This podcast project will act as a companion to the recently launched city-wide reading of Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, with episodes that correspond to the seven major parts of the book and feature a range of Atlanta voices that add some current perspective to the text. I’m aware that a few of you might be already familiar with this story, thus one of my particular points of emphasis is to connect the legacy of these mayors to current voices who will be leading this city for years to come.
My hope is that in sharing these conversations with you it will spark renewed interest in how Atlanta has evolved over time, and perhaps be a catalyst for someone to write the next great book about Atlanta that ushers us into the present day and the future ahead.
Visit https://www.atllegacymakers.com/podcast to learn more about the podcast and to download/subscribe; it’s currently available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher.
Featured Image: Former mayor Ivan Allen Jr. (left) and mayor Maynard Jackson seen on September 25, 1974 in Atlanta.
Photo by: Chuck Vollertsen, Atlanta Journal Constitution staff, via AP