Dear Decaturish -Greenhaven: A Proud History
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We at CCCSD are advocating to form a new city called Greenhaven. While we believe strongly in the advantages that forming a city will bring, we acknowledge and pay tribute to the history that Greenhaven stands on. In forming Greenhaven, we are not turning our back on who we are and what has been done; we are simply adding a new phase, like adding a new member to the family. In this message, we honor some of the accomplishments in South DeKalb.
“What IS the history of South DeKalb?” one might ask. During the 1700’s, the Muscogee and Hitchiti Native Americans were the majority occupants of South DeKalb County. They became known as the “Creek Confederacy.” The DeKalb History Center details the next set of occupants.
“The early settlers of DeKalb were of English, Scotch and Irish descent coming from Virginia and the Carolinas … The county was named after Baron Johann de Kolb, a native of Germany and self-proclaimed baron who aided the colonists in their fight for independence.”
However throughout the years since that time, DeKalb County has become one of the state’s sprawling metropolitan areas. The proposed city of Greenhaven, a community in south DeKalb, boasts a rich culture of pride and belonging. During the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s, the Memorial Drive corridor (from Candler Road to North Hairston Road) was a focal point of South DeKalb’s nightlife that vaunted a variety of nightclubs and popular restaurants. The Candler Road corridor (from Memorial Drive to Flat Shoals Parkway) though equal in splendor to Memorial Drive’s bustling nightlife, was the community’s shopping “mecca” with the holiday bravado of South DeKalb Mall (now Gallery at South DeKalb) at the center of it all, boasting beautiful holiday décor, a live piano player, and its very own “Black Santa.”
A sense of community is also ever present in the proposed city of Greenhaven (South DeKalb), as numerous little league to high school aged sports teams have and are still fostering an environment of self-esteem and achievement among our youth – to name a few, the Gresham Park Rattlers, Glenwood Hills Panthers, and DeKalb Yellow Jackets. The historic toils of community activism echoes in the proposed city of Greenhaven community as well. In 1975, on the heels of court ordered school desegregation in Georgia, students at Columbia High school staged a sit down protest and marched from the school to the state capital in protest of the school’s administrations cancellation of Black History week. Through this effort a community group of concerned parents, who lobbied the school board for changes, was formed and called the Concerned Citizens.
There’s proof all around South DeKalb that economic development once existed and a sense of community pride still exists today. However, the economic development side of our story has long been neglected. Let’s restore our community back to its former splendor by taking charge of our own destinies. Let’s instill pride in ourselves and our youth by imagining ourselves in a city that would focus its efforts directly where we live. Let’s impart a sense of urgency on our South DeKalb legislators to support the right of the proposed city of Greenhaven’s citizens to vote on a cityhood referendum.
TO OUR LEGISLATURE WE SAY, “GIVE THE PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND DECIDE THEIR DESTINY!” TO THE PROUD AND DISTINGUISHED PEOPLE OF PROPOSED GREENHAVEN WE SAY, “REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE! AS OUR HISTORY SHOWS, THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN’T DO OR ACCOMPLISH. WE CAN CREATE THE FUTURE WE WANT THROUGH FAITH, WORKS AND LOVE OF OUR COMMUNITY.”
BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR DESTINY!
Member of CCCSD Communications Team
Editor’s note: Greenhaven is a proposed city that comprises much of the unincorporated area south of US-78 and Memorial Drive in DeKalb County. Bills proposing the city were sponsored by 12 DeKalb county delegates in the 2015 legislative session. The bills carry over into the 2016 session where legislators will vote on whether to allow citizens a public referendum on creating a city of Greenhaven.