Grant will fund mural on MARTA overpass

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 24, 2015

The city of Decatur has received a $15,000 grant to paint a mural on the MARTA overpass at West Trinity and Atlanta Avenue.

Jim Jaquish with the Atlanta Regional Commission says the grant is a 1 to 1 match, meaning it requires a 100 percent match from the city. He said the grants are partnership between ARC and the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta.


The press release from ARC says, “The Decatur MARTA Overpass bisects several diverse communities while sheltering children waiting for school buses, as well as neighbors and employees walking and riding bikes. Many cars traverse the corridor daily, and thousands of citizens from all over the Atlanta Region ride the Blue Line MARTA train across the overpass every day.  In essence, it creates a gateway into these economically and racially diverse communities and provides an opportunity for real connections through meaningful art on this large, durable concrete canvas.

“The MARTA Overpass Mural will create neighborhood connections and an exceptional art form that is reflective of the revitalization and vibrancy of this historical community in downtown Decatur.”

The city of Decatur says the mural will go on both sides of the overpass and on the pilings as depicted in this photo.


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  • Chris Billingsley

    Thanks DM. “The Decatur MARTA Overpass bisects several diverse communities…In essence, it creates a gateway into these economically and racially diverse communities… reflective of the revitalization and vibrancy of this historical community in downtown Decatur”. Say What? George Orwell could have not written anything better than this! (Warning- there is a quiz at the end of this post)
    I have pointed out before that this area was not always the wasteland that it represents today. Fifty years ago, it was a vibrant community of schools, businesses, apartments, homes and other institutions that served Decatur’s black community. During the 1980s, you could still find black owned businesses, like Clark’s Groceries* and Tyler Funeral Home, serving the community.
    So what happened? There was the obvious cleansing during the late Sixties and early Seventies, “Urban Renewal”, that removed much of the private housing and businesses but there were also more subtle actions. Beginning in the late Seventies, there was greater emphasis of code enforcement. There was once an odd ordinance that vehicles could not be parked in the front yard. This continues today with a quick code warning if you let your grass get too high or fail to keep your sidewalk tidy. Another change was the “pay as you throw” garbage bag requirement. I remember the conversation between two black customers at Publix concerning Decatur trash bags. One of them remarked, “In Decatur, you have to buy special trash bags”. The other responded, “That’s just stupid. Crazy!” Most of you were not around in the late Eighties when Decatur allowed newly arrived homeowners in Oakhurst to fence in old alleyways. The people who complained the loudest were long time black residents who used these alleyways as shortcuts to businesses. And then there was the first change to Decatur’s discrimination statement around 1995. Even though there had never been any government enforced discrimination against gays and lesbians (unlike black citizens), these groups would now receive special treatment. And soon, the city will promote an immigrant love fest! These and other actions of the city sent a message to black citizens and that was, WE DONT WANT YOU!
    But back to the post. I’m sure the bridge mural will contain plenty of images of smiling children holding hands as well as long gone leaders of the black community. Maybe Pope Francis, the current darling of the left, will make an appearance. What I would like to see however, even if only in small letters, somewhere hardly noticeable, are two simple questions, “Where did all the black people go?” and “Who bears responsibility for this?”
    Now for the quiz. This is multiple guess for those who those who have lived in Decatur five years or less. “Who is responsible for the decline of Decatur’s black population from about 50% thirty years ago to less than 15% today? A. The Ku Klux Klan. B. Caring Liberal Democrats. C. Mean and Hateful Conservatives Like You-Know-Who. D. Republicans. E. George Orwell. F. Who Knows Or Cares.
    PS- My former students are not allowed to take this. They already know the answer.

    *Not sure if this was the name of the small grocery store but when I stopped by shortly before it was torn down, the owner told me that his uncle, Mance Clark, a Decatur resident, had been killed while serving in France during World War I. His name is inscribed on a plaque in the old courthouse on the square.

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