What makes us Atlantans

BY - January 23, 2020

Atlantans Lucy Hall, Robert Sherer, and Heros Nascimento

Photographs by Johnathon Kelso

In most cities, especially in the South, the place you were born is where you’re from. It’s simple. But the problem with Atlanta is that most of us weren’t born here. Native residents have long been the exception rather than the rule—though that dynamic is starting to shift, as Mara Shalhoup notes in her essay. Our transience and our sprawling geo­graphy make it challenging to define what unites us, especially as an ever-widening array of nationalities and ethnicities embraces the metro area (see more data on that here). Yet there’s no doubt something holds us together and keeps us here. As Steve Fennessy, Thomas Wheatley, and I talked with locals, we discovered it was hard to find naysayers. People’s experiences of coming to the metro area have varied widely, depending on when they came or why, but we’ve all come to call the city home. Betsy Riley

This article appears in our January 2020 issue.

  1. The professor who marched with Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. The Brazilian-born chef who loves the city's diversity
  3. The SoCal native who sought a more affordable way to live
  4. The tech entrepreneur who never planned to stay
  5. The artist who found a home in the LGBTQ community
  6. The retiree who's still discovering the city
  7. The doctor who sees himself as American first, Atlantan second, and Korean third
  8. The former New Yorker who discovered a more integrated society
  9. The bus driver who found better weather, a better job, and a yard
  10. The popsicle master who found a family in the creative community