Jamaicans In Atlanta

Life in Atlanta

Atlanta, the capital city of the state of Georgia, is considered the Capital of the New South and is one of the most important economic centers in the American South. With a metro area population in excess of five million and the busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, the city too busy to hate is experiencing a constant influx of newcomers attracted by affordable housing and its southern charm. With African Americans in the majority, the city has elected a black major in each election since 1973. Former UN ambassador Andrew Young was elected mayor in 1982.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in the city, and his boyhood home on Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn district is preserved as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. King’s final resting place is in a tomb at the King Center, which is a popular destination for tourists. Other attractions include the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium, which features over 100,000 specimens in tanks holding approximately eight million gallons of water. One unique museum is the World of Coca-Cola featuring the history of the world famous soft drink brand and its well-known advertising.

There is an abundance of activities to satisfy every taste in this thriving city. Sports enthusiasts can cheer the Atlanta Falcons in football or the Atlanta Braves in baseball. The annual Black Arts Festival which provides a 10 day exposure to music, dance, theatre, literature and visual arts and the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, attracting artists from all over the country, are just two of the many popular events held in the city throughout the year. Atlanta also boasts the largest 10 kilometer road race in the world with over 55,000 participants running down Peachtree Street on Independence Day, July 4th each year.

For Jamaicans who want a taste of home, each year there is a week of activities to mark Jamaica’s independence. Most of these are coordinated by representatives from various organizations who make up UJOIA, the Union of Jamaican Organizations in Atlanta, headed by Jamaica’s honorary consul to Atlanta, Vin Martin. In addition, there are numerous organizations that bring plays and performers from Jamaica to the community. For example, The Atlanta Jamaican Association and the Kingston College Old Boys’ Association have featured the Fab Five Band at their respective banquets. Touring companies have enabled Atlantans to see Oliver Samuels and Charles Hyatt in various plays over the years. And it is not uncommon to see flyers for appearances by the likes of Buju Banton or Beres Hammond, to name a few.

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Glen Laman