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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: 16 September 2021

Speaking to the Spirit of the Games

Speaking to the Spirit of the Games

Atlanta’s Rise to Olympic City

(p.169) 5 Speaking to the Spirit of the Games
The Legend of the Black Mecca

Maurice J. Hobson

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter Five focuses on the calculated and concerted steps taken by Atlanta’s white business elite and black city government to bid for the Centennial Olympic Games. A diverse cohort of private interests generated the necessary funds to give Atlanta a competitive bid for the Games was formed. This cohort included officers of Atlanta’s fortune 500 companies comprising of the Coca-Cola Company and Delta Airlines, Atlanta businessman Billy Payne, and politicians Mayors Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young. Once awarded the Centennial Games, two movements of paramount importance commenced, representing what the author calls the “olympification” of Atlanta. “Olympification” connotes the policies where urban renewal and gentrification were implemented to get Atlanta ready for the Games. The first of these movements, a joint effort between the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Atlanta Organizing Committee (AOC) worked to prepare the city for the Games is of extreme importance. The second movement, the Atlanta Project, gave way to social change in Atlanta waging war against poverty within the city. Started by the former U.S. president, humanitarian and Georgia native Jimmy Carter, this project had good intentions. But in the end, it did very little for Atlanta’s poor, thus further excluding them from the popular image of Atlanta as black Mecca.

Keywords:   Atlanta Committee on the Olympic Games, black internationalism, crack cocaine, Crazy Atlanta Nine, displacement, gentrification, globalism, Herman Russell, Hope VI, International Olympic Committee, MARTA, Miami Boys, neoliberalism, Olympic Stadium, Olympification, Police Brutality, Red Dogs, Urban Renewal, War on Drugs

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