Thursday, September 10, 2009

#102. Losing Power in Atlanta

“I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace.” So said William Sherman in a letter to the Atlanta Mayor and Councilmen back in 1864, as he demanded the immediate evacuation of the city before he burned it to the ground.

Rebuilt and recast as “The City to Busy to Hate,” Atlanta is home to Fortune 500 company headquarters; professional sports teams; the memory the 1996 Olympics and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Black people have long looked at Atlanta as the Black Mecca in America, a city that has for many years had a Black run government that catered to Black peoples every need. But that image is changing quickly:

“Metro Atlanta is in the grips of yet another wave of street violence with victims as famous as former boxing champion Vernon Forrest and incidents as shocking as a failed car jacking of a father and his child stopped by the youngster’s screams as the cowards tried to drag him from his car seat. For over 20 years friends have told me to “steal away” down the highway to Atlanta, where Black folks can get better jobs and treatment as opposed to Savannah.

"While it’s true that aggressive leadership and common ground thinking has made ATL a top pick for strivers of all colors, it’s crime rate is causing me to wonder if it’s time to rethink it’s rep as a “mecca” for Black people.

"Street crime and its sub-culture is the bane of majority Black population centers.”

The author of the above piece would lead you to believe that the massive crime wave hitting Atlanta like a tsunami is the fault of anyone but the progressive Black people she hopes can keep the city a Black Mecca. In the real world, the crime wave has been one of Black people’s major contributions to Atlanta, as they have gone after Georgia Tech students in record numbers and also each other.

If anyone is eroding the image of a Black Mecca in Atlanta, it is the Black people who run the city that is nestled in Fulton County and for this, Black people everywhere are in ultra panic mode:

“The campaign for mayor of this city, which has long promoted its racial tolerance, veered into controversy Thursday with the release of a memo urging black voters to unite around an African-American candidate and block the election of a white mayor.

A local group known as the Black Leadership Forum called for African-Americans to consolidate their support around Lisa Borders, president of the Atlanta City Council and one of several African-American candidates, according to a memo circulated on the Web and to local media.”

Fulton County is home to Atlanta, the first major Southern city to elect a Black mayor – a tradition that has not been undone since 1973 and one that Black people hope to perpetuate forever:

“On Oct. 16, 1973, Mr. (Maynard) Jackson handily won the runoff with 59 percent of the vote, becoming the first black mayor of a major city in the South, the same year that Tom Bradley and Coleman Young won the mayoralties of Los Angeles and Detroit respectively.
Mr. Jackson had campaigned against police brutality and for equity in hiring practices, and his first two terms revolved around themes of crime and racial preferences.

“Mr. Jackson's greatest legacy was in affirmative action programs that set the standard for American cities, especially those with black majorities, though his advocacy for those programs also helped set a tone of confrontationalism with the white business establishment that left scars on both sides.”

Black people have not relinquished the title of Mayor of Atlanta since this historic election and Black people are working to ensure that this doesn’t happen in 2010, even though the city they have presided over for 36 years is beginning to crumble:

“…But in a press conference Tuesday, the authors of the memo said that, politically speaking, Atlanta’s blacks would be well served by uniting behind one black candidate to defeat white frontrunner, Mary Norwood. They added that the uproar over the memo highlights how race discussions “put politicians in a straitjacket,” and how the realities of the Atlanta mayoral election are similar to changing demographics and election dynamics in cities all across the US.

The authors – Clark Atlanta University political science professors Keith Jennings and William Boone – say that electing a white mayor in Atlanta would be as historic as the 1973 election of Maynard Jackson, the city’s first black mayor. The election became a mile marker in the South’s civil rights struggle.

In that light, they say, the need for blacks to band together today to elect a black mayor – or at least someone highly sympathetic to black issues – are equally important in order to forward a “black agenda.”

Atlanta is a city rapidly undergoing gentrification, as white people are moving into the city in droves and Black people are losing their long defended clout as the titans of the city and with that perk, they maintain the keys to the cities lucrative government contracts, which are given to minority owned businesses (fellow Black people):

”But although gentrification has expanded the city's tax base and weeded out blight, it has had an unintended effect on Atlanta, long a lure to African-Americans and a symbol of black success. For the first time since the 1920's, the black share of the city's population is declining and the white percentage is on the rise.

Some, like Mayor Shirley Franklin, who is serving her second and final term, play down the significance of the change, saying that the city — now 54 percent black — will remain progressive and that voters here do not strictly adhere to racial lines. Others warn of the dilution, if not the demise, of black power.”

Black people in power are beginning to worry that their vice on Atlanta and Fulton County politics is slipping quickly and it is for the reason that Black people are frantically trying to band together in not only criminal behavior on the streets, but also at the ballot box, for the prospects of a white woman – Mary Norwood – winning the mayor’s seat is a great horror:

“Atlanta long has been seen by many African-Americans as one of the best places for blacks to succeed, in part, because of the city’s leadership. Aaron Turpeau, who helped distribute the memo, said some African-Americans are worried about issues — such as blacks getting fewer city contracts — if a white candidate is elected.

“(We’ve) seen progress and a level of support (under black mayors),” Turpeau said. “(We) have enjoyed the leadership of the black administrations and we question change.”

Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes losing power in Atlanta, for it is the key to a powerful throne from which they have sat upon for nearly forty years. The fate of Bill Campbell, a former mayor, could be the fate of many of the cities elected and appointed officials if a white person were allowed to audit the books.

The Reality of Fulton County will be a later entry on SBPDL…


Anonymous said...

Detroit city is the Mecca for blacks. Atlanta is still not lost to them, at least not yet...

a black atlantan said...

unfortunately it's time for blacks to lose power in atlanta. this is what happens when the corrupt and selfish rule; they become weak, divisive and incredulous and which makes way for others to take over. perhaps we blacks can control atlanta again when we TRULY care about making our community, government a better place and stop worrying about "keeping up with the joneses".

L said...

The writer of this blog is obviously someone with disdain for African Americans and AA leadership in particular. You know darn well that people committing street crimes are not "trying to band together" with voters to usurp Norwood! That's ridiculous. Most people who commit street crimes are too ignorant to care about lofty ideas such as holding on to political power. Get a life and stop trying to bite off of the MUCH MORE famous blog "Things White People Don't Like". Your pitiful, prejudiced drivel is no comparison.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I find the "pitiful, prejudiced drivel" on this site to be far superior to the pathetic pusillanimous twaddle on the other site.

Now be quiet so I can go back to peacefully contemplating the myriad of ways that blacks have enriched this country. Well, that was quick.

Anonymous said...

I see stark and drastic changes happening in Atlanta. To be honest, I don't see all the clout that Blacks are suppose to have in the city. When you look at whose running the Fortune 500 corporate office that are based here, the folks are not Black. And the few Black shakers and movers only network within their own network and dont attempt to branch out and mentor other up and coming Blacks to broaden the movement and keep it going. When you really get to the surface, Blacks dont have sh** here, there are a lot of perpertraitors that are living in BIG homes, driving BIG cars and on the brink of foreclosures and repossessions. The RHOA is a perfect example of the statement, the show only aired for seasons and of them have lost their homes. This state is ran by the KKK Wizards, they are in control and always have been. Blacks dont come together here, everybody trying to out do one another. And I honestly cant see what the Black leaders have done for the city especially Mayor Frankiln, they dont even have the clout to get a metro wide operational transit system here, they dont even have enough clout to stop simple city/county ordinances being passed that ultimately has caused Black owned businesses to crash. This city of M people is a joke, it is not hardly what I would call a mecca for Blacks. Blacks were able to come here and buy homes easily but now we know that was a well thought out plan to further destroy our community thru predatory lending and selling false dreams. Its time to get some real leadership in this city that has clout whether they be Black or White. I hate to say it but the White woman can probably get things done better and quicker simply cause she can sit down at the table with the good ole boys and they actually take her issues and viewpoints seriously. Whites got this city on lock!

Anonymous said...

I lived in New Orleans (pre-1965) and in Atlanta (1965- 1974). Safe, quiet...great public schools...

The cities that bear these names today BEAR NO RESEMBLANCE to my old hometowns. I would not move back to either, any more than I'd move to Detroit. Routine governmental corruption & flagrant nepotism, carjackings, home invasion..useless police, afraid to "profile" those far and away most likely to be violent criminals (according to the US Justice Department, who tries to bury these statistics).

Anonymous said...

stuff black people hate is a funny site, yours just sucks.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Hitting to close to home anon (Jan. 27)?

This post is about demographic changes in Atlanta that will sweep Black people out of power for good.

Not trying to funny anymore.

Anonymous said...

Show me any neighborhood that gets better when it becomes predominantly black... And will be the downfall of Atlanta..