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#50

A STORY OF RACE, WITH GARY POMERANTZ

October 27, 2014

Featuring:
Gary Pomerantz

OVERVIEW

“My research for this book has taught me what the people of Atlanta have known for a century and more: there are two Atlantas.  The old-line southern families, white and wealthy, lived in an Atlanta that developed along its most famous thoroughfare, Peachtree Street.  The other Atlanta existed as if a parallel universe. It was home to blacks learning to be free.  The center of their Atlanta was Auburn Avenue.  Hungry to share in the fruits of the city, they built a commercial district that came to be known as Sweet Auburn.” 

Peachtree Street, 1907.
Peachtree Street, 1907.

Journalist and nonfiction author Gary Pomerantz conducted over 500 interviews to pen Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, a New York Times notable exploring the history of 2 Atlantas: black and white.  The book, a must read for any lover of history, traverses the intersection of well healed Peachtree Street, and Auburn Avenue, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement that was at one time black America’s premiere example of enterprise, culture and achievement.  Pomerantz provides captivating prose and political provenance in sharing the “saga of race and family” of two legendary lineages.  The Allens were slave owners.  The Dobbses, slaves.  From these bloodlines comes the legacy of Ivan Allen Jr., and Maynard Jackson, Jr., two of  the most impactful mayors the South has ever seen.

Atlantas First Eight Black Police Officers On April 30, 1948.
Atlantas First Eight Black Police Officers On April 30, 1948.

Why is this important now?  As Auburn Avenue experiences a renaissance, many are concerned about the prospect of history lost.  We can’t know where we are if we don’t know where we’ve been.  Our interview is an in-depth look into the book, and pari passu the lives of two of Atlanta’s great families.  It’s a story of race, of abstracted progress where not only a city, but the entire south can restore the ideologies upon which our country was founded.  Enjoy this story, it’s all of ours.

This month marks Sidewalk Radio's 50th episode!  Special thanks to AM 1690 "The Voice of the Arts", Producer Stephen Key, Associate Producer Hannah Amick, Associate Producer Nicholas Cooper-Kedrick, our sponsors Perkins+Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates, and of course to you, our listeners and fans.  We are honored to bring you all elevated conversations and colorful coverage about life and culture in the modern city.

- Creator & Host Gene Kansas

Extra special thanks to: my loving and idea inspiring wife DeAnna Kansas, my always supportive sister Ann Kansas Cross, and to my mother, Sally Kansas, a class act and the best storyteller I know.

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