Atlanta GA: Reason to Resist

There is something to look at in pride in the name of loss. I still can never get over, the South lost and still the adherence to the Confederate flag. It is a thing that rips us apart as a nation sometimes, almost unfathomable. It led to the horrors of the KKK, the outright meanness of segregation and in some ways it is still there, a strange undercurrent. Like energy, it transferred over as a blueprint for the Nazis, and still exists on those who prey on kids a la History X.

Through a stroke of fate, I got inside the firehouse and took shots. Left, the brick and terra cotta ornamentation common in 1894. Right, the firefighters.

But then the New South had the face of Lyndon Johnson, Dr. King, Jimmy Carter and hundreds of others leading up to Bill Clinton. And there you are in Atlanta and you are walking around Auburn and Boulevard, and you are in the house Dr. King lived as a child, in a neighborhood you never knew existed. With the old “white” firehouse around the corner as a reminder that segregation took place 30 years after the Civil War. That is when the real divisions were drawn. In Orlando, for example, the demarcation was named Division Street.

Top, cream and brown house of Dr. King’s grandparents, where he was born and lived as a young boy. Shotgun houses across the street, note downtown skyscrapers looking northwest.

As our wonderful Parks Department guide, Ada, pointed out, for some African American boys, being a fireman was not exactly part of their dream. Inside the Queen Anne structure you got the sense of a nice middle class household of good breeding. Outside, as Matt pointed out, there was visually another division looking across at the shotgun house, built for factory workers. And one is reminded that Dr. King was a champion of segregation due to economic boundaries, as well.

Left, Ebenezer Church where both Reverend, Sr. and Dr., Jr. worked and preached. Right, the surprising Freedom Walk sculpture inside the King Center.

The King Center in that neighborhood, the fact it costs nothing (even free parking) to get to see recent history is wonderful and a tribute to the energies of Coretta Scott King, who is just as sorely missed. Still, when the holiday comes along, I would prefer he had lived longer to have been a part, as well as aided, in the cause he helped further and changes he helped create.

Traveling north on Boulevard and eventually to Freedom Parkway, one travels to the Carter Presidential Center, where parking is free, but it costs $8 to visit. Still, if you are a Carter aficionado, you will think it is a buy. Of the three Southern democratic presidents, I have lived through, Jimmy Carter was, and still is, the most noble. Not at all Machiavellian as Johnson (how else would we have gotten the Civil Rights legislation in?), nor as crafty and charming as Bill Clinton (how else do you survive an impeachment fighting a “liberal” press, the Republican Congress and Ken Starr?). Carter made energy consumption his mantra and it still rings fresh to this day. Unfortunately, trying to balance the budget leading to high inflation, Mariel and the Iran Hostage crisis finished Carter long before Reagan. Carter’s conservatism in manner was no match for a zealous Democratic Congress, the still active counterculture and the no-tax Republic chant. A hopeful walk down Pennsylvania Avenue could not predict the sad ending beginning with the firing of Andy Young.

Left, the replication of the Carter Oval Office is beautifully done. Right, how many ex-Presidents can win a Grammy, especially for speaking?

Southeast in the Carter Japanese garden, you can see downtown Atlanta in the photo  left. It is said to be the spot where Sherman watched Atlanta burn. Like battlefield from the Revolution up North, no one can image the horror of war at your doorstep. Next to that photo on the right, is wall graffiti on Irwin Street NE. Old wounds not only run deep, but do not altogether heal, either.

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One Response to “Atlanta GA: Reason to Resist”

  1. The Out of Town Experience (Part 1) « The Blah Blah Blog Says:

    […] (Able to explore a lot more of the city than I did, I recommend Tom’s blog posts on the trip here and […]

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