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The Legend of the Black MeccaPolitics and Class in the Making of Modern Atlanta$
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Maurice J. Hobson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635354

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635354.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Legend of the Black Mecca

Maurice J. Hobson

University of North Carolina Press

On September 18, 1990, the International Olympic Committee selected Atlanta, Georgia, as the host city for the XXVI Centennial Olympiad (1996). A product of the visionary leadership of black mayors Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr. and Andrew Jackson Young, this achievement signaled a Kairos moment for the southern city. Only twenty-five years before, Atlanta had reeled from urban rebellions as poor black citizens took to the streets to air their grievances over police brutality and poor living conditions. Just a few years later, Maynard Jackson had ascended to the mayor’s office, drawing from an unprecedented coalition of black Atlantans and the city’s white progressive voters. If a cross-racial grassroots coalition had been responsible for electing Jackson in 1973, the Olympic victory came thanks to a coalition of elites—cooperation between the black city government and the white business elite, especially Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, was instrumental to securing the Games. The city’s boosters, the Atlanta Convention Bureau, and different trade and tourist administrations could now claim that Atlanta had outgrown its status as regional capital of the South, transcending the region and history. After decades of reinvention, it was “Hotlanta,” the Deep South’s newest and most modern world-class and international city. Yet the fruits of this success were not, and have never been, shared equitably. As much as Atlanta had changed, the same poor blacks who had taken to the streets in the urban uprisings of the 1960s had benefited little during the decades that followed....

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