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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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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

The Sorrow of a City

The Sorrow of a City

Collisions in Class and Counternarratives—the Atlanta Child Murders

Chapter:
(p.94) 3 The Sorrow of a City
Source:
The Legend of the Black Mecca
Author(s):

Maurice J. Hobson

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635354.003.0004

Chapter Three focuses on the tumultuous episode where Atlanta’s most vulnerable citizens, primarily poor black children, were being hunted and murdered. To clarify this, chapter three explores the experience of the victims’ families through oral interviews, the FBI papers, and archival research to show how the popular political sentiment of Atlanta’s black working classes and poor towards Atlanta’s black City Hall was one of distrust that thwarts the black Mecca image. Crucial to understanding the Atlanta Child Murders again notes that the prism of race was not the only lens to better understanding this convoluted community, but that class stratification within black Atlanta(s) are lucid. The Atlanta Child Murders provide a unique counter-narrative on class to Atlanta’s black Mecca status, as victims who were poor black youth were labeled and dismissed as “hustlers and runaways” in effect suggesting that they deserved what happened to them. Chapter three accounts for the experiences of the Committee to Stop Children’s Murder (STOP Committee) and the Techwood Bat Patrol, organizations formed by some of Atlanta’s black working class and poor as they deemed it necessary to organize against the murderers because to them, Jackson was too busy bolstering the black Mecca image while sacrificing Atlanta’s poor to play politics. This chapter grapples with the idea that at this time, Atlanta’s black political leadership was already working with Atlanta’s white business elite to host the 1988 Democratic National Convention and the 1996 Olympic Games. As a result, it was widely believed by a large segment of the public that Atlanta’s black City Administration downplayed the murders to show that social and economic progress had been made in the South and thus promoting a “city too busy to hate.” Just as important, many in black Atlanta felt that Williams was not the killer and that another killer remained on the loose.

Keywords:   Atlanta Child Murders, Bat Patrol, STOP Committee, Wayne Williams

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