Public History & Memory in Atlanta

In November 2018 Stacey Abrams ran for governor. Why does this matter?? Well, she could be the first black and female governor of Georgia. In order to make more people aware of this exciting time, a local artist painted a mural of her in a small Edgewood neighborhood downtown. The mural was just a few blocks away from MLK’s childhood, I am one to believe that its location is no coincidence. To me,  this location is to show how representation continues through Atlanta overtime. It shows the growth, From MLK’s childhood home in the 30’s all the way to the present day. 

Abrams lost the election, but in the months following the mural remained intact. One would think that after she had lost the election eventually the mural would be gone. However, with almost 7 months after her loss, the mural stayed. This is because yes, Abrams did lose the election, but in the eyes of the black community, she had won. She did something that hadn’t been done before. Her running and being so close to a win was enough in itself. It was special. So of course, the mural remained up. 

It’s a representation of how far Atlanta has come, and as mentioned before with the mural being only a few blocks from MLK’s childhood home it shows that people understand where we have come from and what we are becoming as a city. It serves as a reminder that once upon a time this would not have been possible and we remember that time, but now that time is over. The 2018 governor election may not have given Abrams a win, but the memory of it is that representation matters, and that we are progressing. Even without a win, that election is still a happy memory.

In Lee’s podcast the concept of “reverse migration” is brought up. This the movement of African Americans to southern cities such as Atlanta. To me, it’s like they were able to create a new safe haven for themselves while still maintaining their roots. The mural of Abrams supports this concept. As mentioned before the mural remained upon the building because regardless it was a great event for the community. The “reverse migration” is the reason Abrams was able to run for office and have so much support. It’s the ideas and concepts of this community in which they continue to build each other up. One can even see it taking place and influencing other parts of Atlanta as well.


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