Atlanta neighborhood remembered for historical significance - New York News

Atlanta neighborhood remembered for historical significance

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

Back in the days of segregated Atlanta, decent housing was difficult to find. A city alderman, a developer and several community organizers put their heads together to form a neighborhood of their own.

Collier Heights is nestled in northwest Atlanta, just 12 minutes from downtown. That's where Atlanta builder Herman Russell built his dream home.

"He wanted to build his dream home and through the network of black professionals that he was a part of," said Michael Russell.

In 1998, Michael moved back into the home with his wife and two sons. The six-bedroom house sits on two acres, complete with a basketball court, tennis court and a large entertainment space. It also includes an indoor pool that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was known to swim in.

"During that era...blacks couldn't go to the Hyatt and Marriott where we all go now to entertain," said Michael Turner.

History books said that nowhere else in the nation were African-Americans developing their own communities like the one in Collier Heights. Vernell Hall, now 92, was there.

"When I came out here, Baker Road all over in there, Bankhead Highway -- it was all white. All of that area was white," Hall said.

Tired of moving from place to place, the then-Atlanta school teacher gave her husband a pretty stiff ultimatum.

"We had been trying to find a place that we could be comfortable in," she said. "I told him that we would either have to get a place to call our own or I was going back home to Americus."

The cluster of subdivisions that formed Collier Heights was founded in 1948 or 1949. Hall still lives in the same ranch home almost 60 years later.

Dr. Louis Reese bought into the Collier Heights concept as well.

"I was the first black ophthalmologist in Georgia," Reese said.

Reese and his family moved in 1956. The still-practicing 90-year-old ophthalmologist says segregation led him to Collier Heights.

"For those who remember those days down Hunter Street until you got to the bridge and then it turned to white only on the other side of the railroad bridge," Reese said.

Lena Webb used to be a tour guide for the historic community. Her parents bought a house in the 1960s that she still lives in today.

"Most of the homes were built by blacks for blacks. That was the selling point I guess, in the tours I use to do," Webb said.

Now the nation has recognized the significance of what happened in Atlanta 65 years ago. In 2009, Collier Heights was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.

Homeowners beamed with pride.

"I'm proud. I've always been proud of the neighborhood. It's really interesting and deserving that this neighborhood with all the history that it has been recognized for what it is: a unique neighborhood developed by African-Americans and has maintained its African-American heritage," said Michael Russell.

Collier Heights is now applying for designation as a historic neighborhood in the city of Atlanta. Homeowners say if that happens, the neighborhood can never be torn down.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • New Jersey detective acquitted in Maryland highway shooting

    NJ detective acquitted in Md. highway shooting

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 2:16 PM EDT2014-07-30 18:16:51 GMT
    A jury has found a New Jersey detective not guilty in the slaying of a driver during an alleged road-rage incident. Joseph Walker, 41, an investigator for the Hudson County, New Jersey, prosecutor's office, was found not guilty on all counts on Wednesday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. He had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Joseph Harvey, 36, of Landsdowne.
    A jury has found a New Jersey detective not guilty in the slaying of a driver during an alleged road-rage incident. Joseph Walker, 41, an investigator for the Hudson County, New Jersey, prosecutor's office, was found not guilty on all counts on Wednesday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. He had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Joseph Harvey, 36, of Landsdowne.
  • Amazon ships first order from New Jersey

    Amazon ships first order from New Jersey

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:31 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:31:08 GMT
    The world's biggest online retailer has shipped its first order from its new distribution center in New Jersey. The Interplak All-In-One Sonic Water Jet was sent from Robbinsville to an Amazon customer in New York. Amazon says it expects to employ more than 1,000 full-time employees at the 1 million-square-foot center just outside of Trenton.
    The world's biggest online retailer has shipped its first order from its new distribution center in New Jersey. The Interplak All-In-One Sonic Water Jet was sent from Robbinsville to an Amazon customer in New York. Amazon says it expects to employ more than 1,000 full-time employees at the 1 million-square-foot center just outside of Trenton.

  • Injured detective in Village shootout leaves hospital

    Injured detective in Village shootout leaves hospital

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:28 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:28:00 GMT
    The third law enforcement officer injured in a Manhattan shootout is out of the hospital. The NYPD says Detective Mario Muniz was left Bellevue Hospital shortly after noon on Wednesday. Hundreds of his fellow police officers cheered as Muniz left the hospital in a wheelchair pushed by his NYPD patrol partner, Joseph Trovato.

    The third law enforcement officer injured in a Manhattan shootout is out of the hospital. The NYPD says Detective Mario Muniz was left Bellevue Hospital shortly after noon on Wednesday. Hundreds of his fellow police officers cheered as Muniz left the hospital in a wheelchair pushed by his NYPD patrol partner, Joseph Trovato. Police Commissioner William Bratton has said the detective's protective vest may have saved his life.


Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices