The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class in the Making of Modern Atlanta

Thursday May 3, 7:30PM

@ Red Emma's

For more than a century, the city of Atlanta has been associated with black achievement in education, business, politics, media, and music, earning it the nickname “the black Mecca.” Atlanta’s long tradition of black education dates back to Reconstruction, and produced an elite that flourished in spite of Jim Crow, rose to leadership during the civil rights movement, and then took power in the 1970s by building a coalition between white progressives, business interests, and black Atlantans. But as Maurice Hobson demonstrates, Atlanta’s political leadership--from the election of Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first black mayor, through the city’s hosting of the 1996 Olympic Games--has consistently mishandled the black poor. Drawn from vivid primary sources and unnerving oral histories of working-class city-dwellers and hip hop artists from Atlanta’s underbelly, Hobson argues that Atlanta’s political leadership has governed by bargaining with white business interests to the detriment ordinary black Atlantans.

In telling this history through the prism of the Black New South and Atlanta politics, policy, and pop culture, Hobson portrays a striking schism between the black political elite and poor city-dwellers, complicating the long-held view of Atlanta as a Mecca for black people.

Dr. Maurice Hobson is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Historian at Georgia State University. He was raised in Selma, Alabama. After graduating from Selma High School in 1995, he went on to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he was also a student-athlete, playing fullback for the Blazer Football team. He earned a B.A. Degree in History and African American Studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1999.


Dr. Hobson engages the social sciences and has created a new paradigm called the Black New South that explores the experiences of black folk in the American South, with national and international implications, since WWII.  For this, he has served as an expert witness in court cases and as a voice of insight for documentaries, films, movies, public historical markers, monuments and museum exhibitions.

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This Vibe will occur in the midst of the 2020 election season, a dire time—no matter who wins the Office of President.  We will want—NEED—poetic cleansing, a space to process trauma, express ourselves, and be in a supportive, creative space!  Join us for an online open mic of justice, conscious thought, spirituality, fam, real life—whatever advances the village!  In the tradition of Emma Goldman’s “Mother Earth” magazine, come drop some rad “fiyah” on us, or contribute just with your presence and energy.  Our theme is “Peace, Justice, Poetry!”  By the way: it’s a non-erotic venue, so rather than a love & erotica evening, we focus this night on justice and other matters of life.  And, almost needless to say, leave the misogyny, homophobia and other unnecessary ish outside! 

This event will take place on Instagram Live @redemmas.  Sign up for the open mic will be posted on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 72 hours before the event.  If time permits we will take names onto the list during the event as well, after those who have signed up have performed.  One piece/five minutes.

Our feature this evening is one of the pillars of the Connecticut poetry scene!  Baub (pronounced “Bawb”) Bidon is a Haitian/African American poet, actor, writer, and playwright based in New Haven.  He has worked on sets with artists ranging from Busta Rhyme, Black Rob, and Pharaoh Monch to Missy Elliot, Nas, Eve and Mary J Blige, naming a few.  Inspired by poets such as Ngoma, James Baldwin, Gil Scot Heron, and Saul Williams and playwright August Wilson, Baub chronicles urban life.  He writes to tell the stories often marinated in ghettos and jails throughout the United States.  His poetry speaks of injustice and poverty, and he hopes that his work uplifts and empowers those who are, and have been, victims of oppression.  Baub has worked in prisons alongside Lyrics on Lockdown, in schools and after-school programs, and more.  Delivered with Hip Hop and Jazz fused with Blues, Baub’s work conceptualizes the idea of a better tomorrow, and a brighter day.  He is a member of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) and was a member of the 2012 Connecticut slam team, Verbal Slap.

Baub is the author of “A Glimpse: Spoken Word in Back Pockets (Collected Poems),” and has produced a CD by the same name.  As a member of the Blackout Arts Collective, he was a writer for the production of What It Iz: the Spoken Wordical, a Hip Hop/Spoken Word adaptation of the 1970s musical and film, “The Wiz.”  He has appeared in various film and theater projects and has contributed to written anthologies.  Baub Bidon is the founder and Host of FREE 2 SPIT (www.facebook.com/free2spit), a poetry open mic and potluck which takes place every first Friday of the month (except for January) at the New Haven Peoples Center.

goodgrafix@gmail.com

Twitter: @baubbidon

www.facebook.com/likebaub

Instagram: @0negod 


Holdin’ it down for the evening is Analysis—poet/spoken word artist, rad minister and bookseller, educator, justice & human rights theoretician… Y’all know what’s up! 

www.facebook.com/analysisthepoet 

Twitter and Instagram: @analysisthepoet

www.artistEcard.com/analysisthepoet

CashApp: $AnalysisThePoet

In lieu of our usual in-person collection to support the feature, PLEASE support the artist directly (methods to be announced) and the host in order to ensure the continuation of the venue.  SUPPORT THE ARTS! 

The evening is brought to you by Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, a worker-owned and collectively-operated restaurant, bookstore, and community events space located in Baltimore's Mt. Vernon neighborhood that is dedicated to putting principles of solidarity and sustainability into practice in a democratic workplace!  You can continue to support us during this time by purchasing books online or donating to our worker support fund!  Thank you.  

http://redemmas.org   https://www.facebook.com/redemmas  Twitter & Instagram: @redemmas

Remember: PEACE, JUSTICE, POETRY!!  Will we see you there?  :)