The Gantt Report

By Lucius Gantt – I’ve been writing editorials, and opinion columns for most of my life. I’m not ashamed of my maturity but my first column appeared in the Georgia State University “Signal”, the campus newspaper in the late 1960s.

I wasn’t writing about campus clowns or playing bid whisk in the student union. I wrote about the same things I write about today, freedom, justice, and political power!

I wrote about Atlanta.

Atlanta, Georgia was once considered as “Harlem of the South” or “The Black Man’s Paradise”.

Back then, the childhood Lucius Gantt was a happy, playful kid that didn’t realize he spent a lot of his youth in some very dangerous neighborhoods, the Carver Homes Housing Projects, and mostly in Fourth Ward where a “gang” called The Parkways Travelers roamed way before Crips and Bloods were even imagined. My walk from my Angier Avenue home to C. W. Hill Elementary School included a trek through “Buttermilk Bottom” every school day. My first girlfriend lived in the neighborhood.

I loved Atlanta. The city helped make me the man I am today. My grandmother, Carrie Gantt, lived on Auburn Avenue, the street that blues singer John Lee Hooker described as the place where “all the pimps hung out”.

The King family lived two doors from my grandmother. I oftentimes saw Martin Luther coming and going but I didn’t interact with him, but I did attend high school with Martin’s oldest daughter, Yolanda, for a couple of years.

When MLK was assassinated, the school his daughter and I attended was shut down for a period of time. No problem. My Fourth Ward neighbors set “Boulevard” on fire and many non-Blacks were injured.

We were united in our anger.

A couple of years later at the age of 19, I got married and the next year my first child was born.

By that time, I started my professional media career. Community leaders demanded that media companies hire more Blacks and I got hired by WSB-TV in the production department.

Long story short, several of my friends were able to attend the college that I wanted to attend, Morehouse College, I applied and was accepted, but when I asked the school for financial aid, I was denied, so I ended up at Georgia State which was cheaper at the time.

Atlanta, in my mind, was very good for me. The city allowed me to meet and interact with more than a few civil rights icons and groups, like SCLC, the Nation of Islam, and The Black Panthers.

Even though Atlanta had so-called Black intellectuals and prominent Black elected officials like Maynard Jackson (who lived across the street from me in the East Lake neighborhood and came to my wedding reception), the city was pretty much controlled by white elites, like Ivan Allen and Sam Massell, back in those days.

Today, people with devilish intentions are in control of the City of Atlanta just as much, or possibly more than ever before.

People like Arthur Blank, of the Atlanta Falcons, and Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick Fil A, find little opposition to anything they want to do.

People may suggest that politicians and preachers run Atlanta but they both bow down to Atlanta’s business powerhouses.

I’m not mad with the current A-siders in Atlanta. I’m concerned about any Uncle Toms or Jezebels who refuse to fight exploitation and oppression because they are happy to sit in a sky box at an Atlanta football game or to get some cold coffee and a chicken biscuit at a Black community meeting.

Some people believe white people still run Atlanta in 2023.

I want the old Atlanta, where the community members were not afraid to stand up and speak out! I want the old Atlanta again where Auburn Avenue was as prosperous as any streeta in Harlem, in southside Chicago, or even the Greenwood area of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Let’s make that happen in every city we can!

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