1st Annual Sweet Auburn Gala - Preserving the Legacy
Sweet Auburn Works and Central Atlanta Progress present the first Sweet Auburn Annual Gala – Preserving the Legacy on Thursday, June 2, 2016, reception at 6:30 pm and Dinner at 7:30 pm at the Atlanta History Center, located at 130 West Pace Ferry Road, NE; Atlanta, GA 30303. Sweet Auburn Works (SAW) is leading the preservation-based cultural and economic resurgence in Sweet Auburn. This gala will recognize the preservation champions who have been stalwart supporters in the efforts to preserve and revitalize Sweet Auburn, designated a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This event will support the work of SAW by initiating a diverse and broad base of support, raise funds, and shine a spotlight on the work of SAW to preserve, restore and revitalize Sweet Auburn.
In addition to ddbuting the campaign, this year’s Sweet Auburn Annual Gala salutes three Atlantans who have been at the helm of the movement to keep the legacy of Auburn Avenue alive. The Honorees include Congressman John Lewis, Georgia’s Congressman from the 5th District and a preservationist in his own right; Mtamanika Youngblood, who has for thirty (30) years led the Historic District Development Corporation, founded by Coretta Scott King in 1980; and F. Sheffield Hale, President and CEO of the Atlanta History Center, who serves our city as a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Robert W. Woodruff Library of Atlanta University Center.
Auburn Avenue was dubbed “sweet” by John Wesley Dobbs, Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons; and the area was often referred to as the richest Negro neighborhood in the world. The legacy of Sweet Auburn still remains a monumental story of Atlanta’s Black heritage and is a major part of Atlanta’s history. Its legacy will come alive through the renovation of the historic buildings up and down Sweet Auburn. The Historic District Development Corporation (HDDC) the oldest community development corporation in Atlanta and one of the oldest in the nation, has
worked toward the realization of this dream for many years. The possibility of creating a Legacy Center to facilitate telling the story is of paramount importance to keeping this legacy alive and relevant to coming generations. Toward this end, and under the leadership of Congressman John Lewis, the U. S. Congress has recently approved House Bill 2880 that will elevate the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site to a National Historic Park and, incorporates the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge building into its boundaries.
This fundraising event is co-chaired by Henrietta Antoinin, former VP of Atlanta Life Insurance Company, who spent her professional career on Auburn Avenue at this historic African American business; and A. J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress, the other co-chair of this most appropriate and timely event. “We cannot move forward with the progress and the future of Atlanta, unless we have honored our past,” says Mr. Robinson. “Without Auburn
Avenue, and the men and women who were the leaders of this era, such as Mr. Dobbs; Mrs. Geneva Haugabrooks; Reverend William Homes Borders of Wheat Street Baptist Church; and, of course the M. L. King family, and so many other great men and women, Atlanta would be without its rudder.” The Sweet Auburn Annual Gala will include a reception, an exhibit, musical performances, and dinner.
Auburn Avenue is in the heart of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic District. The District is also home to Georgia State University, extends to the Atlanta BeltLine and is within the now thriving Old Fourth Ward. Over one million people visit this community every year. This extraordinary district is at the heart of Atlanta’s amazing history and heritage and makes an enduring impact on the city of Atlanta and the entire world.