I’m a “Grady baby.” That is what Atlantans call themselves that were born in Grady Memorial Hospital.
Atlanta, Georgia is my hometown. I was so happy to go home and be closer to my son and daughter that live in different city suburbs. I was almost as happy as a gay mayor in Boys Town might be!
However, the Atlanta I moved back to was not like the Atlanta that I left to go to graduate school and to further my media and political career.
Knew them all
Growing up, everybody knew the ATL pimps, hustlers, madams, number runners and gamblers. But we also knew, and grew up around, scholars, freedom fighters, militants, activists and revolutionaries!
The capital of the Peach State was often referred to as the “Harlem of the South” or “The Black Man’s Paradise.”
The main drag back in the day was “Sweet Auburn” Avenue where my grandmother, Carrie Gantt, lived two doors away from “Daddy” Martin Luther King, Sr., and the rest of the King family, and where the Casino and Royal Peacock nightspots were located a door or two from the Royal movie theater.
The Atlanta Daily World newspaper offices were on Auburn Avenue. The famous Atlanta Life Insurance Company was a short walking distance from Ebenezer and Wheat Street Baptist Churches.
At least once a week, after getting buzzed with my frat brothers, I’d slide by the Auburn Avenue Rib Shack and sober up with a helping of their delicious Brunswick stew!
Things are different
Well, the churches are still there today, but most of the businesses are gone, replaced by Caucasian-owned beer breweries and coffee shops.
In other words, Atlanta has changed! Atlanta, like many neighborhoods in your city, has been gentrified.
The days when religious leaders, community activists and college students organized and planned protests in the SCLC offices were curtailed when city, state and federal politicians decided to devastate “Sweet Auburn” by running the I-75 highway right through the middle of America’s most historical Black roadway.
Thought I could help
In my mind, I was thinking I can help my hometown by sharing my communication and media knowledge with Atlanta’s political elite.
I was hoping to work with modern-day “Maynard Jacksons.” I ended up running into 2019 slavery day “Buckwheats” and “Aunt Jemimas”!
Today, too many Atlantans are governmentally ignorant and politically backward.
Reactionary and recalcitrant elected officials who seem to be happy just to have a title, a free ticket to a football game or an invitation to speak at the devil’s business group, seem to have sold my city to the highest bidders!
Don’t get it twisted
The Man has called a lot of shots in Atlanta before. Ivan Allen, Sam Massell and even axe handle-carrying Lester Maddox were politically influential up to and past the days of Maynard Jackson.
But unlike many of Atlanta’s current political “leaders”, Maynard wasn’t scared to do what was right. Maynard told the Atlanta Airport contractors that if they didn’t find and hire Black contractors, there would be no new Atlanta Airport!
On September 17, I’m scheduled to make a presentation at The People’s Agenda meeting held at the historic SCLC office on Auburn Avenue and hosted by SCLC Women.
I will be talking about Black political progress, and you know me. I’m planning on lighting them up (in a good way) by focusing on politics and money and why Black residents should control the money and politics in Black communities.
I’ll do my thang
I was so glad to be back home. But will Atlanta be glad to have me back?
Time will tell. But in the meantime I plan to be a flea under the Atlanta beast’s collar! Wherever I am, I will aggravate the political devil!
Join me at The People’s Agenda. Depending on where your head and your heart is, my talk might be interesting!