Atlanta, Affirmative Action, and White Managerial Elites

Gone With the Wind: Atlanta, Affirmative Action, and White Managerial Elites

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Ronald H. Bayor’s Race & The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta is one of Disingenuous White Liberal (DWL) scholarly books that blames the current state of the Black Mecca on the lingering vestiges of white racism.

The growth of Atlanta is in predominately white areas

Despite Atlanta – since 1973 – being a city firmly under the iron Black heel when it comes to who controls City Hall and the hiring/firing of public employees (not to mention the creation of the Minority Business Enterprise, which mandates a significant portion of city projects go to minority firms), Bayor’s book places all the blame for The City too Busy to Hate’s shortcomings on white people.

Just as in Detroit, it was white flight from Black criminality to virtually crime free white suburbs surrounding the city that allowed Black people to become the majority of Atlanta by 1970 and elect Maynard Jackson in 1973. This event was the culmination of years of cohesive actions by the Black community in Atlanta:

“The black response to a city being shaped by segregation was to form their own self-help organizations, develop businesses and colleges to serve the African-American community, negotiate for land and housing, fight for political inclusion, and, most important, to continually point out to white Atlantans what should have been obvious: measures that diminished black life in the city also had negative effects on whites. Black Atlanta’s community development, resistance to or bypassing of white policies, and implementation of their own policies after 1973 were some of the shaping aspects of race that one could see in Atlanta.”(p. 257, Race & The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta)

Black Atlanta did implement their own policies starting in 1973 (minority contracting mandates, which transferred tax-revenue to the Black community) as outlined here:

The election of Maynard Jackson, who has died of a heart attack aged 65, as the first black mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, in 1973 was a major landmark in the southern US city’s history.


It signposted a change of guard in the local political class from white to black; no white person has since been elected mayor.


Jackson, who served three terms in office, was a prominent exponent of affirmative action.


In his first two terms, he rattled Atlanta’s old cosy business relationships, alienating some, but wooing them back in his third term with deft deal-making skills. In 1978, he signed a law requiring 25% of the city’s projects to be set aside for minority firms. The policy, which still operates today, made Atlanta the most hospitable place in America for black entrepreneurs.


He also pushed through an affirmative action program that made it mandatory for contractors to take on minority-owned businesses as partners, and forced the city’s major law firms to hire African-American lawyers. He threatened that “tumbleweeds would run across the runways of Atlanta airport” if blacks were not included in city contracts.

This is the reason Atlanta is known as “The Black Mecca”; an aggressive affirmative action program implemented to enrich Black citizens of Atlanta, that resulted in enticing Black people from around the country to return to the city (and surrounding metro Atlanta area) to get a piece of the pie. An article from Ebony in 2002 notes:

Though Census figures show that Atlanta’s Black population has dipped slightly (it peaked at 282,911 in 1980 and stands at 255,689 today), more than 150,000 African-Americans still moved into the city during the 1990s. The real boom was in the surrounding bedroom communities in DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb counties. More than half a million Blacks swelled the population of those communities in the 1990s. In fact, more Blacks moved to metropolitan Atlanta than to any other metro area in the country during the last decade.

Even in once-segregated strongholds like DeKalb County, which cuts a small swath through the city of Atlanta, Blacks have changed the face of the social and political landscape. In November 2000, DeKalb residents elected 41-year-old Vernon Jones as the county’s first Black chief executive. “The times are definitely changing in and around this metropolitan area,” Jones maintains. “The whole area is just much more diverse, and that’s changing things. There are some glass ceilings, too. We still don’t have a Black senator or a Black governor. But the population is growing. More and more Black people are moving here, affluent Black people. That is making a difference.”

Today, Atlanta boasts more Black-owned companies per capita than any other city in the nation except Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is home to the nation’s second-largest Black insurance company, Atlanta Life. Citizens Trust Bank, the fourth-largest Black bank, also is based there.

“There are business role models here like Jesse Hill and Herman Russell who allow young people to see what the possibilities are,” says Thomas Dortch, national chairman of 100 Black Men of America.

But the new economic landscape produced by the labor, lobbying and civil rights leadership of Atlantans such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young and Congressman John Lewis also has created scintillating opportunities in areas where Blacks previously were shut out. As Atlanta has grown, so too have the fortunes of scores of Black businessmen who have participated in its amazing development. With the backing of Maynard Jackson, who is credited with initiating the building boom that put Atlanta on the map (some call Hartsfield airport “the airport that Maynard built”), business owners like construction magnate Herman J. Russell, whose H.J. Russell & Co. is the 14th-largest Black business in the country, literally paved the way for the unprecedented success of the Black businesses that followed.

Using aggressive affirmative action initiatives, Jackson ushered in an era in which the percentage of the contracts Black businesses received from the city grew from less than one-tenth of 1 percent in 1970 to more than $250 million today. It is said that 90 percent of the contracts that go to minority-owned firms that do business with American airports are at Hartsfield. Herman Russell, along with his partner, pioneering restaurateur James Paschal, operate several of those concessions, but many young Black business owners also have broken into this lucrative territory.

More and more Black people – who are vacating cities they helped ruin during the Great Migration of 20th century – are moving back to Atlanta. Fittingly, there is a correlation to property value drops, lower tax revenue collected – resulting in teacher and public employees layoffs and a lack of funds for improvements in infrastructure (and increased crime) – and further white flight from these counties Black people are settling in.

Attracted by affirmative action policies that helped enrich one segment of the population, one wonders if metro Atlanta’s white population would ever dare unite to defend their interests? The looming showdown over North Fulton vs. South Fulton would lead one to say “yes, they will.”

But its not just affirmative action policies that have helped enrich Black people in the private sector.

In describing Freaknic – a raucous Black spring break event that was eventually evicted from Atlanta – in the opening chapter of A Man in Full, Tom Wolfe writes:

Atlanta was their city, the Black Beacon, as the Mayor called it, 70 percent black. The Mayor was black… and twelve of the nineteen city council members were black, and the chief of police was black, and the fire chief was black, and practically the whole civil service was black, and the Power was black. (p.17)

But going back to that quote from Boyer, one glaring inconsistency with logic sticks out:

to continually point out to white Atlantans what should have been obvious: measures that diminished black life in the city also had negative effects on whites.

Actually, it’s measures that improved Black life in the city that have had negative effects on whites. More importantly, it’s had negative effects on Black people. Despite these affirmative action programs, poverty (and crime, which has no relation to poverty) in the Black community in metro Atlanta is at levels that rival any in all of America:

Atlanta’s status as a haven for African-Americans was greatly reinforced by the election of the city’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, in 1973. This accomplishment was due not to the progressive sentiments of the majority of Atlanta’s white population, but rather their departure from the city in big numbers. In the book Imagineering Atlanta: The Politics of Place in the City of Dreams, Charles Rutheiser reports:

He (Jackson) assumed a confrontationalist posture vis-a-vis the white business community, arguing passionately for a greater distribution of the benefit of growth among African-Americans. Ina  showdown over the new airport, Jackson succeeded in establishing a minority business enterprise program that became widely regarded as a model for minority set-asides for municipal contracts. Together, with extensive affirmative action hiring by Atlanta-based corporations like Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, and an already-established black business community, the set-aside program made Atlanta a nationally known center for African-American economic opportunity in the latter part of the 1970s and 1980s.


Despite economic opportunities for the middle class and a continuous black presence at city hall for two decades, Atlanta was far from being a decent place, much less a paradise, for the majority of its African American residents. By any and every statistical measure, from poverty and unemployment to graduation rates and crime, the quality of life “enjoyed” by the city’s African-American majority plummeted during this period. The percentage of black households living in poverty nearly doubled between 1980 and 1990, to more than a third of all households. Over half of the city’s children lived in poverty. 


Nowhere was the divide between the two black Atlantas more manifest than in the area of crime. Atlanta was nationally renowned for its high crime rate in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its homicide rate more than doubled between 1965 and 1970, making the city the country’s “murder capital.” Atlanta has retained the dubious honor of being one of the nation’s most violent cities to the present day. The vast majority of these crimes occurred, then as now, in the cities poorest census tracts to the south, east, and west of downtown, areas that are more than 95 percent African American.

Violent crime hasn’t stopped in Atlanta (where Black people have a virtual monopoly on crime), it’s just no longer reported by the police or the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A simple question has to be asked at this point: who were those white people in power in Atlanta that caused Black people to unite and create cohesive organizations that would – in turn – consolidate political power in their own hands (both in the public and private sector)? Who were these white people that allowed Atlanta to become the Black Mecca?:

An incredibly close-knit group of friends, neighbors, and business partners from the city’s posh Northside, the power structure shared a common history. “Almost all of us had been born and raised within a mile or two each other,” remembered Ivan Allen Jr., a member of the group who would succeed (William) Hartsfield as Atlanta’s mayor from 1962 to 1970. “We had gone to the same schools, to the same churches, tot he same golf courses, to the same summer camps. We had dated the same girls. We had played and worked within our group.” Member of the power structure not only shared a common past and present; they shared a common vision of the future. In Allen’s telling, they were “dedicated to the betterment of Atlanta as much as a Boy Scout troop is dedicated to fresh milk and clean air.”(p. 28, White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, by Kevin M. Kruse)

The actions by the white elite (what can only be described as the white “Managerial Elite” of Black-Run America) from 1940 – 1970 resulted in the vacating of the city by middle class whites (who couldn’t insulate their families from Black crime and integrated schools as the Northside elite could with private schools) and, in turn, resulted in the nightmarish of 2012 metro Atlanta: an entire metro area witnessing property depreciation, increased crime, and staggering costs for commutes.

Interesting that despite government mandated policies of affirmative action, minority contracts, and hiring practices that have turned all public jobs (tax supported) in the metro Atlanta area into a Black vocational program, Black communities there are in complete disarray.

Those areas that stayed white (despite a hostile government, private sector hiring practices that favor non-whites, and an onus on entrepreneurship): thriving. Atlanta has been rebuilt up Georgia 400 to Roswell, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta and Forsyth County.

The tallest buildings in all of suburban America, the 30+ story King and Queen Towers – The Concourse at Landmark Center in Sandy Springs – recently went on the market and analysts predict the sale will rival what the tallest building in the southeast (which was foreclosed), the Bank of America Plaza, went for. The former complex is located Outside the Perimeter, in a city that is majority white; the latter located in downtown Atlanta.

Sandy Springs is one of these primarily white cities in North Fulton that could secede from the county tomorrow and instantly see property values rise dramatically.

More on this later this week.

Since 1973, untold financial investing in the Black Mecca (through primarily white tax-dollars and the appropriation of collected revenue toward minority contracts and the establishment of an entrenched Black monopoly on public jobs) has resulted in the creation of a Black elite in Atlanta, which should now represent a sunk cost. No matter how many private companies enact affirmative action policies in hiring, this too will represent a sunk cost over time.

Atlanta – The City too Busy to Hate – represents a microcosm of how one can look at the entire nation after Black-Run America (BRA) rose to power: The white managerial elite rushing to cede power to Blacks, who have and always will maintain a close racial cohesion. It has been the zeitgeist in America for some time to be seen as “progressive” when it comes to Black America.

The state of 2012 Atlanta and the metro Atlanta area is directly correlated to two things: 1. Blacks moving from around the nation to city to take advantage of affirmative action policies enacted in 1973 that have created the facade of a “Black Mecca” — only because of the misappropriation of tax-dollars by a racially cohesive drive to augment Blacks, and, 2. White people trying to avoid living anywhere near Black people. No matter the distance of the commute, having limited interaction with Black people is preferred.

One will never be able to quantify (nor qualify) what might have been for Atlanta – and metro Atlanta – were a race-based policy not enacted in 1973 and instead, a merit-based policy enshrined into law.

The white managerial elite of Atlanta sold the city to Organized Blackness; as a result, every one has suffered.

Such is the case for all of America.

To look back at what Mr. Boyer stated in his book, it should become clear: the day that white people decide to do any of things he listed as the Black response to “segregation” in Atlanta, is the day BRA ends.

Hilariously, it looks like it will be in the very Northside of Atlanta (North Fulton) that sees secession attempted and a new county created… Look to a forthcoming essay on Vdare to see what this means.

The seeds of BRAs destruction are in the soil of Atlanta.

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