Book Club: Race and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta

Nikonie Brown Philanthropic Resources 0 Comments

By Nikonie Brown, marketing administrative assistant 

As someone who visited Atlanta frequently growing up and finally moved here nearly four years ago, I knew it was important to learn more about the city. Last year, our president, Alicia Philipp, gave new Foundation employees a list of books to learn more about Atlanta. One that stood out to me was “Race and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta” by Ronald H. Bayor.

Bayor makes it known that he does not think everything that has occurred in Atlanta is due to racial issues, but he does believe race plays a part in decision-making along with other elements such as class and gender. Some of these decisions included public policy issues such as employment, hospital care, housing, park use and schools. And while Atlanta is known as the “City Too Busy to Hate,” it’s important to acknowledge racial and class disparities.

One standout was the chapter called “City Building and Racial Patterns.” Bayor discusses zoning and segregation. It’s interesting to see what parts of Atlanta were zoned for different people in the early 20th century.

Bayor’s book did a great job of showing how race and class shaped our city. It also reminds me of the great work people are doing to improve the lives of others in the region, such as the work our donors have done in Thomasville Heights. I have high hopes we can close equity gaps.