Black History Month 2023
The Update - 2/1/2023
Welcome to my freemium newsletter by me, King Williams. A documentary filmmaker, journalist, podcast host, and author based in Atlanta, Georgia. This is a newsletter covering the hidden connections of Atlanta to everything else.
The Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s 2023 Design Awards are now accepting applications.
Black History Month events:
Atlanta artist Charmaine Minniefield, Praise House Project is presenting a series of site-specific public art installations and exhibitions on Auburn Avenue highlighting the 1906 Race Atlanta Massacre. —Feb 3rd-5th, details can be found here.
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater will be at the Fox February 16-19th. Tickets here.
Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theater is presenting the play Good Bad People this month. Tickets here.
The DeKalb County Public Library system is having a series of events this month that you can find here.
Roswell Roots Festival will be hosting several events all month. More info here.
The Oakland Cemetery is offering free tours this month. Register here.
Southview Cemetery is also offering free self-guided tours this month. Info here.
Outside writing: I ranked the 25 best Black-owned coffee shops in metro Atlanta
I recently collaborated with The Atlanta Voice, the oldest continually operating Black-owned newspaper in Atlanta, for a look at the plethora of Black-owned coffee shops in the metro area. This included going on a local tour where I ranked the 25 best Black-owned coffee shops. You can read the rankings here. There are no losers on this list, and I really hope you enjoy them.
FWIW: If you’re up for it, let’s get a cup of coffee or tea for that matter!
BONUS article: The Black Mecca of Black Coffee
This article produced a lot of things not covered in the original piece, so I’ve also included some of the things left on the cutting room floor. This includes a look at some of the key players and brands you need to know in the world of Black-owned coffee in Atlanta. You can read it here in the newsletter.
Red Clay News
*We will talk ‘cop city’ but that will be its own standalone issue. But the project is happening.
1. 2016’s More MARTA expansion plans are under more scrutiny as the plans are not meeting expectations
The 2016 More MARTA expansion vote is leaving a sour taste amongst a growing number of people. Now that plans have been severely curtailed, the agency is being put to task on why no tangible deliverables have been met yet.
For more background, I would refer to my editorial in Decaturish last year on this. In addition to my 2022 newsletter: The Campbellton Road MARTA controversy explained.
The TL/DR of this situation: voters went to the polls in 2016 in hopes of finally getting some real mass transit options within I-285. Since that time nothing has happened, things are getting scaled back, promises on light rail service have been downgraded and there apparently is no money to make these projects—a lot of it is pandemic related as people stopped riding MARTA and may never come back.
2. Eight Metro Atlanta restaurants are finalists for James Beard Awards
Despite what people on Twitter and Instagram say, metro Atlanta has a great food scene. Three Decatur restaurants have been announced for the prestigious James Beard Awards. Eight Atlanta area restaurants have been included overall as nominees.
3. Effingham County Schools have a lawsuit filed against them for attempting to ban BLM shirts worn by students
A new federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed against Effingham County School District in southeast Georgia, near Savannah. The claims are that the school has purposely lowered the GPA of some of its Black students. This also included barring students from wearing Black Lives Matter shirts to school.
Other red clay news:
Atlanta has been named one of the five cities where inflation has been the worst.
The ARC has approved $235 million for 77 small-scale transit-related projects in the metro.
Georgia Power has come to a deal to increase rates by $1.8 billion over the next three years.
Walmart in Vine City will re-open, while Walmart on Howell Mill Road will close.
Gwinnett will be paying $1 million to build new sidewalks on Highway 29.
Former Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan (R) is now a CNN commentator.
Rumors are emerging that Republican Majorie Taylor Greene is anchoring to be Trump’s running mate in 2024.
Some city of Mableton residents are pushing to be de-annexed from the city.
A Republican lawmaker is pushing for a bill to protect the Okefenokee swamp from new mining proposals.
Macon City Hall will now be flying the flag of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Democratic state Rep. Mike Glanton of Jonesboro has resigned from the GA House, creating a need to fulfill his seat along with four others who have also created vacancies. This comes as the 2023 legislative session is already underway.
The University of Georgia has acknowledged that it rented the vehicle that was involved in a fatal crash of two students, one of whom was a football player.
1. Tyre Nichols
Friday saw the release of the footage of Tyre Nichols of Memphis, Tennessee. Nichols earlier this month was beaten to death by several officers. 5 of whom were immediately fired. And since the release of the footage, another officer has been charged, in addition to two EMTs, while the entire Scorpion unit, Memphis’s special forces unit is being disbanded. Nichols’s death has brought renewed attention to both police killings and police brutality in the nation.
Nichols’s service in Memphis included Vice President Kamala Harris and Rev. Al Sharpton in attendance.
Republicans in Congress are drafting a plan to cut both Social Security and Medicare.
The city of San Francisco is addressing its affordable housing shortage by granting approval for 82,000 new units, the largest in decades.
The Biden administration is looking into a partnership with allied nations for mineral mining for EVs and renewable energy sources.
Democrat Ruben Gallego has launched a 2024 Senate bid against both former Dem-turned ‘independent’ Krysten Sinema and a would-be Republican challenger.
Crypto banks have borrowed billions from home-loan banks to address shortfalls.
Democrats are raising their voices in concern as Republicans are not including or removing prominent members from key committee assignments, signaling a bigger partisanship bent over the next two years.
New Latino, Middle Eastern or North African checkboxes have been proposed for US official forms.
Virginia Democrats have defeated bills limiting abortion access in the state.
1. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arendt abruptly resigns and will not seek re-election
In surprising news, Prime Minister Jacinda Arendt will not seek re-election. Arendt’s replacement will be announced at take office by the end of February. Arendt has become a lightning rod amongst conservatives and anti-vaxxers worldwide as New Zealand’s strict covid lockdowns made the country one of the safest in the world throughout the pandemic. But at the cost of opening, closing, and then reopening the country several times, she’s lost some local favor among her constituents and decided to step down ahead of re-election.
For those watching the global backslide in democracy, alongside a new rise of authoritarian politicians, and a rise in extremism, New Zealand is becoming another country to add to the watchlist. The country already added the Proud Boys to the list of terrorist organizations. Just like neighboring Australia, these countries have seen a rise in online anti-vaxxer misinformation, nationalistic content, and conservative-led culture wars. The election for New Zealand’s next president is soon becoming one to watch.
Japan has outlined its most significant increase in military spending since the end of WWII to combat a rising threat of Chinese military moves in the region.
Germany has pledged to send tanks to Ukraine.
Apple will be forced to allow third-party app downloads to comply with new EU legislation.
Elon Musk caves to censorship measures as the government of India pressured Twitter to remove a BBC documentary critical of his tenure from the platform.
Bangkok has urged residents to work from home as the air pollution in the city worsens.
Pope Francis has issued a statement that homosexuality is not a crime.
What I’m checking out
Unreformed (Podcast): The Story of the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children
From a friend of the newsletter Josie Duffy Rice. Unreformed is the story of a state-run reform school called the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children in Mount Meigs, Alabama. Set in 1968, the podcast looks at the history of ‘negro’ reform measures in the shadow of the civil rights movement. It’s available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
The Conversation (news): Atlanta’s BeltLine shows how urban parks can drive ‘green gentrification’ if cities don’t think about affordable housing at the start
This conversation (no pun intended) sites the ongoing relationship between the Atlanta Beltline and gentrification featuring GSU professor of Urban Studies Dan Immergluck, author of the recently released book “Red Hot City: Housing, Race, and Exclusion in Twenty-First Century Atlanta.”
Mr. Beast cures blindness for 1,000 people - (Youtube)
Mr. Beast, the #1 YouTuber in the world recently released a video that currently has amassed 55 million views in 48 hours. The video features Mr. Beast paying for corrective eye surgery for 1,000 people.
Mr. Beast has been known for his gimmicky videos which have included creating a real-life (murder-free) Squid Game, and a series of million-dollar giveaways. But he’s also has been consistent in this brand of YouTuber-based charity.
This year is passing by fast, it’s already February?