April 12, 2022 / Mia Gant / Comments Off on Injustice Hidden Deep in Atlanta’s Forest: The Old Atlanta Prison Farm and the South River
The Old Atlanta Prison Farm has become a strong source of controversy in Atlanta’s political sphere due to the City of Atlanta’s future plans for the land. The prison was located in southeast Dekalb on 1248 acres of forest next to the South River. For some Atlantans, this revelation might come as a surprise. As a native Atlantan who grew up in southeast Decatur 5 miles away from part of the land that is now Cedar Grove Middle School, this discovery was a shock. For others, it’s not so surprising considering Atlanta’s environmental history. It’s hard to imagine trees where there are now buildings, but there are many green spaces inside the perimeter that are clues to this past.
Atlanta plans to sell the land to BlackHall Studios, meaning many trees will have to be cut down to build what Blackhall Studios wants to be the biggest sound stage in the nation. The world is currently in a vulnerable environmental climate; these actions put our city at further risk. The city also plans to allot 300 acres of the land to build an extensive facility as well as a mock city, hence the nicknamed “cop city.” Considering the history of this space as well as environmental issues, these future plans should concern all Atlantans.
When I was a senior in high school, I participated in a film program in the Reynoldstown area. I would take Marta then skate around the Inman Park/Reynoldstown area just to pass time before it started. I spent a lot of time by myself my senior year because I did full-time dual enrollment. These moments were the first time where being alone wasn’t a burden. I discovered I had a weird pull towards the houses that I would see. Tall and grandeur, the houses captivated me because the architecture was such a clear and beautiful display of history. Always accompanied by my camera, I would take pictures of the exterior of the houses and imagine myself living in the neighborhood
Today, I walked through the neighborhood with my friend. We fantasized about community living in a gigantic house and a seemingly stress-free life growing up in a neighborhood like this. The house I chose, is my friend’s favorite. While I do love this house, it is not my favorite but it is symbolic to me because about two years ago I took a picture of another one of my friend’s standing in front of this house. This area will probably always symbolize the moment where I felt a little bit of independence and freedom for the first time, no matter how shallow those feelings were in hindsight. I’ll always remember skating the big wide streets, my only care being a car hitting me. It’s weird I’ve associated such strong feelings to a neighborhood and houses I’ve never lived in.
For some reason, this house is the only one blurred out on this street. I’m not sure what that means, but I guess I chose the most mysterious house on the block.