Taken from yesterday's AJC:
Atlanta was the first U.S. city to have a public housing project with the construction of Techwood Homes in 1936. Now, housing authority officials believe it will be the first big U.S. city to remove all such projects. By this time next year, all the city’s housing projects will either be demolished or will have a date with a wrecking ball.
HUD cannot confirm that Atlanta will be the first to shed all housing projects, though, because its records do not automatically allow for tracking such statistics, White said.
Atlanta's transformation continued yesterday as Bowen Homes was demolished. Being from the Eastside, I can't say that I just hung out in Bowen Homes like that. For the most part it was one of those spots you really didn't have no business being in if you didn't have no business being there. I used to have to go through there with Hot 97.5 (now 107.9) to do live remotes when I was an intern there.
Though the community had its issues with crime and drugs (as do many others, in the suburbs too) it was still a community. A community where generations of people were raised and a community that contains just as much history as any other part of this city...
So to respectfully address this, I'm going to direct you to some links and content from Dax's site SnortThis.com. He did a Bowen Homes tribute on his site this week. Here is some of it (Dax's words are in all caps/block quotes):
IN THE PAST 3 OR 4 YEARS THE ATLANTA HOUSING AUTHORITY DECIDED TO TEAR DOWN YET ANOTHER ONE OF ATLANTA’S MANY PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS WAY EARLIER THAN THEY PREVIOUSLY AGREED,EVEN AGAINST THERE OWN FEDERAL GUIDLINES,EVICTING HUNDREDS OF SINGLE MOMS,HANDY CAPPED,SENIOR CITIZENS,DOPE BOYS,INNOCENT CHILDREN,AND THE OVER ALL UNFORTUNATE,NEVER THE LESS,GENERATIONS OF FOLKS CALL THIS HOME CONSIDERING THERE 3-4 GENERATIONS DEEP AS BOWEN HOMES RESIDENCE.THIS IS ALSO WHERE A GOOD BIT OF ATLANTA TALENT THRIVED FROM,SUCH AS KOOL ACE,T.I.SHAWTY LO,(D4L)DEM FRANCHISE BOYS,KILO ALI,ANDRE’3000,CHECK OUT BOWEN HOMES IN (OUTKAST)B.O.B. VIDEO DOWN BELOW,BOWEN HOMES ALSO SPAWNED ATLANTA 1st GENERATION GRAFFITI WRITER”SIR LEON” AND “SAVE”WHICH “LEON”MENTORED,AND ARE THE LONGEST ACTIVE MOST INFLUENCIAL TO ATLANTA GRAFFITI.BIG UPS TO “SAVE”FOR HOLDIN DOWN IN THE PLACE HE SPENT HIS WHOLE LIFE,WHICH HE INHERITED FROM HIS GRAMMAH AFTER SHE PAST AWAY,TILL THE LAST SECOND UNTIL BEING EVICTED BY THE HEARTLESS PEOPLE AT THE ATLANTA HOUSING AUTHORITY..KEEP YOUR HEAD UP HOLMES!!ITS JUST LIKE WITCH DOCTOR SAYS ON THE SONG “HOLIDAY”,”WHILE ATLANTA’S GOIN UP,ATLANTA’S GOIN DOWN”R.I.P.ALL THE HOMES..TECHWOOD,THE HORSE SHOE,CARVER HOMES,MY FAVORITES,GRADY HOMES,AND CAPITOL HOMES..WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS???THE URBAN SUBURBAN,I DONT STAY IN THE CITY TO LIVE IN THE SUBURBS..THE CITY IS VANILLAFIED WITH VANILLAROMA….NOW TAKE A MOMENT TO SOKE IN THE END OF A CITY,A REAL CITY WITH URBAN ELEMENTS..
YOU CAN KICK “SAVE” OUTTA BOWEN HOMES,BUT YOU CANT KICK THE BOWEN HOMES OUTTA “SAVE”
PARTS OF THIS (OUTKAST) “B.O.B.” VIDEO WERE SHOT IN BOWEN HOMES,THIS ONE WILL MAKE YOU CRY,UNLESS YOUR WITH THOSE FOLKS W/ NO HEARTS,BESIDES THIS ONE OF THE BEST VIDEOS EVER MADE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WHOLE DAMN WORLD..!!
Gentrification is has been a touchy topic in numerous cities for sometime now. You have those who feel that communities like Bowen Homes should be swept away thinking that crime and drugs will disappear along with the people. Or that moves like this will make people living in these blight communities "get off their ass" and "get a job." Not knowing that there are people in these communities who are working and aren't depending on Uncle Sam to support them.
When I interviewed Jim Jones for Ozone's cover story last month, I asked him what he felt about gentrification, being that he is from Harlem and their gentrification pretty much set the tone and standard for the rest of the country to follow. He said he was all for it, just don't gentrify the money too. If you gonna tear down 'hoods to build nicer housing that the people in the community can't afford, you need to be bringing jobs along with the new housing. But he was like, as for the people who just don't want to work...hey, no helping them.
That's about where I'm at with it. If a neighborhood has be being stagnant and no good is coming out if it. We need to first figure ways to change things for the better there before we just tear it down and sweep people out. And if you are going to tear it down, make sure those folks already living there are supported by providing jobs as well.
Of course I ain't saying nothing new under the sun. But yeah, how do ya'll feel?
Bonus: Here are a couple more music videos doing their part in showing Bowen Homes' history
Kilo-"Show Me Love" (1997)
T.I.-"What's Happnin" (2008)