Interview with Emma Darnell

Atlanta is seen as an economic mecca for Blacks. Do you agree?


Atlanta, in comparison with other cities in the South, and in the North also, maybe with the exception of Chicago is a leader. But unless you add that qualifying phrase, then of course the whole notion that Atlanta is an economic mecca, ah, is, is, ah, a myth. Atlanta is the second poorest city in the United States. Per capita there are more poor people in Atlanta than any city except Newark, New Jersey. This surprises even native Atlantans. One out of three children in this city is poor. The fact of the matter is that the progress which, ah, Black business, like other small business, have been able to make, ah, in recent years, ah, has really been wiped out within the last eight years. For the first time in our history, you know, the, the rising tide did not pull all boats. And unfortunately, ah, most of the, ah, boats of the small Black businessman, ah, ah, have been left behind. You only need drive down Auburn Avenue and Martin Luther King drive, what was once called Hunter Street, where Black businesses twenty years ago flourished, and see that the whole notion that Atlanta is a place of people, Blacks with money and prosperity is a total myth. And a myth, which in my judgement, does us great damage.