Source: "Film of Atlanta Gas Light by Fred Neeley, 1965." Atlanta Gas Light collection, 1957-1989. Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Collection. The University of Georgia Libraries. Click here for source material.

Source: "Film of Atlanta Gas Light by Fred Neeley, 1965." Atlanta Gas Light collection, 1957-1989. Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Collection. The University of Georgia Libraries. Click here for source material.

The Linnentown Justice and Memory Committee

After 60 years, Athens has made steps to share power. But it is only the beginning.

 

On June 25, 2020, the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission formally approved funding and established the charge for the Linnentown Justice and Memory Project. The project charges a committee composed of Linnentown residents, historians, economists, and other stakeholders to atone for the removal of the Linnentown neighborhood. The committee is chaired by two Linnentown residents. 

 

Atonement means redress. It must be communal. And the residents must lead it.

 

The project will provide a model process for redressing the harms committed against other Athens-area Black residents whose neighborhoods were also removed and destroyed by urban renewal, or whose lives were diminished in quality through the efforts of the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government, or its predecessors, the City of Athens and Clarke County. 

 

But these are only the first steps. Redress is satisfied when those who have been harmed say so

 

We are not there yet. There is much work to do.

 

Work of the committee

 

Final approval of the Linnentown Resolution for Recognition and Redress to be sent to the Mayor and Commission for adoption and enactment

 

Acknowledgement and apology for wrongs, in the form of a formal proclamation, the installation of an onsite Wall of Recognition, recommendations for a Black History center, education efforts for the public at-large and other means as may be appropriate  

 

Material redress for today and tomorrow’s Athenians including but not limited to formal participatory budgeting powers for residents to make recommendations for operational and capital projects for the economic and infrastructural support of Athens Black communities

 

Outreach to former residents and descendants to the greatest extent possible to participate in this work  

 

Research and archival work to include a document repository, oral histories, and narrative histories  

 

Invitation to other partners, including state and federal government offices, to bolster these efforts.

Committee Members

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Hattie Thomas Whitehead

First Descendant & Co-Chair

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Bobby Crook

First Descendant & Co-Chair

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Christine Davis Johnson

First Descendant

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Freddie Jackson

First Descendant

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Charlene Marsh

Secretary

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Dr. Jennifer Rice

Researcher & Parliamentarian

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Mariah Parker

Commissioner

District 2

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Mike Hamby

Commissioner

District 10

Ex officio (non-voting)

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Krystle Cobran

ACC Inclusion Officer

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Kelly Girtz

Mayor

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Blaine Williams

City Manager