From the bulletin of the Atlanta Branch Association for the Study of African American Life and History
ROOTS & WINGS
Volume 3, Issue 1
“Focus on Atlanta History: An Interview with Dr. Maurice Hobson”
By Dr. Kenja McCray
The University of North Carolina Press published Atlanta Branch ASALH member Maurice J. Hobson’s The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class in the Making of Modern Atlanta in November 2017. Using primary documents, oral histories, and pop cultural references, the work complicates the notion of Atlanta as a black mecca fostering African American achievement in education, business, politics, media, and music. The narrative delves into the city’s history as a post-Civil War destination for black migrants, a center of African American education, and a late nineteenth century industrial hub. The book ultimately focuses on a period ranging from the rise of the city’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, in the 1970s, through the era of the 1996 Olympic Games. Hobson argues the black political elite helped develop Atlanta into a thriving world-class metropolis, but have also historically bargained with white interests at the expense of working and poor African Americans who elected them.
Maurice J. Hobson is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Georgia State University. Follow him on Twitter @DrMoHob.
Kenja McCray is an Associate Professor of History at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. Follow her @KRMcCray on Twitter.