NEWS BRIEF: Activists want Atlanta to face its troubled past

Atlanta must rise from its past

Atlanta History Center
Photo credit: Atlanta History Center
Battle of Atlanta, View of a sketch by D. R. Brown Kellog of Union troops entering Atlanta, Georgia.
The city of Atlanta was rebuilt by forced convict labor, yet many of its residents are ignorant of the fact. A coalition of politicians, executives, foundation chiefs, historians, educators and grassroots activists is now working to change that misperception. As a successor to slavery, convict labor involved thousands of Black men, women and children being dragged off the streets and convicted of petty or nonexistent crimes; they were then forced to work in camps and factories under brutal conditions where many ended up dying. The system continued from the end of the Civil War until World War II. “I think it’s very important for our children and for adults to know what that history is all about,” said Keisha Lance-Bottoms, the city’s mayor. apnews.com