Interview with Emma Darnell
QUESTION 11
JACKIE SHEARER:

OK, so I'd like to hear your comments, starting the 1970s, about the limits of Atlanta's economic growth.

EMMA DARNELL:

The limits of our growth, ah, during the '70s could best be, ah, illustrated by the fact that we had some Black contractors at Atlanta airport, and at the same time, if you would ride down Auburn Avenue you would see business after business closed. Ah, the, the initiative which we undertook, ah, in the '70s to open up the government to minority workers and businessmen led to success for a few, but for the great majority of minority businessmen, ah, in Atlanta, our initiatives had no effect at all. Ah, our unemployment rates were as high before we instituted, ah, the, ah, affirmative action program, ah, as they were afterwards. And of course that is because government alone cannot do the job. We had enormous successes. Saw during the seventies in Atlanta Blacks moving into positions all over downtown where they'd never been before. That's because the city had forced businesses to hire them in order to do business with the city. And that, well, and businesses began to prefer, ah, so it, it had, we had many successes there, but overall, if you looked at the real economic condition of the average Black person in Atlanta, ah, the big companies, not the, not those in the clique, but the everyday working class Black, ah, during this period simply did not see the benefits of what we tried to do.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Great. Cut.