Atlanta Daily World building is latest Auburn Avenue historical site at risk

Atlanta Daily World building is historic — and threatened

Image Sweet Auburn seems to be getting less sweet by the week.

Just a few hours ago, news broke that someone wants to tear down the historic building that long housed the Atlanta Daily World, the nation’s first successful African-American daily newspaper.

Holy shit, you say, That sounds like a lousy idea that would strip the capital city of the South of even more of its black heritage? Well, yes, all of that is true. But, as often is the case, the situation is likely more complicated than it first appears.

First off, here’s what we know so far: One week ago, a representative of the Integral Group, a well-connected Atlanta developer, appeared at a meeting of the city’s Urban Design Commission to request permission to demolish the old Daily World building at 145 Auburn Ave. The reason given for the application was “unreasonable economic return” on the property.

The UDC deferred the matter to its March 28 meeting, a move that has effectively given time for potential opponents to mobilize.

Boy, have they. The Historic District Development Corporation, which seeks to preserve and revitalize the MLK Historic District, has posted an online petition titled “Tell Integral Group: Don’t Demolish the Atlanta Daily World Building” that already has more than 320 signatures and counting.

In one of the first comments on the petitions, former HDDC Executive Director Mtamanika Youngblood says:

“Little by little the historic fabric of Auburn Avenue and by extension, the fabric of the City, is being destroyed. We are losing our unique sense of “place” and in the process, the sense of who we are. Because to many of us this “place” matters,” we cannot sit quietly by and in the name of progress and growth, watch an Historic District named to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being so disrespectfully dismantled.”