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Conventional wisdom—and decades of TV cops shows—may lead you to believe that the city is dangerous and undereducated while the suburbs are havens for all things intellectual. In some places those stereotypes may well hold true.
As recently as the late 1990s, the DeKalb County neighborhood of Kirkwood was known for street-corner drug deals, blatant prostitution, and a crumbling central business district. An influx of families and commercial investment has softened Kirkwood’s hard edge, resulting in an urban village of roughly 5,000 people that residents call harmoniously diverse.
Well, no matter how statisticians choose to quantify the chasm between the country's haves and have-nots; metro Atlanta keeps coming out on top. The latest: an Urban Institute study that shows three metro counties rank in the top 10 for an affordable housing gap.
Antwan Wheeler remembers that he and two of his friends were walking along a residential street to a nightclub for teens in South Dekalb when he first spotted the police car slowing as it came over the hill. It was December 23, 2010, just after 8 p.m. A fifteen-year-old with an extensive criminal background, including two felony convictions, Wheeler had had run-ins with this particular cop before. And even though he says he wasn’t breaking the law at this moment, he was bracing himself for the usual hassle and interrogation.
An Atlanta-area youth was assaulted by a DeKalb County police officer, arrested, and served two years in a juvenile correctional facility, all for a crime he did not commit, according to a lawsuit filed in DeKalb County State Court on Tuesday. But what’s worse, the complaint claims, is that this wrongful incarceration may not have been an isolated oversight, but rather the result of problems endemic in the DeKalb juvenile justice system.
First came Dunwoody, which snatched up Perimeter Center, arguably the richest square mile of commercial property in metro Atlanta. Then came Brookhaven, which successfully padded its tax rolls with parcels lying far outside its historic neighborhood borders.
Five of the six suspended DeKalb County school board members have asked the governor to give them back their jobs. All have a common message: My reinstatement would “more likely than not” improve the district’s chances to remain accredited.
Viola Davis was destined to battle the powers that be. She grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and at six, walked down the street to first grade at Monroe Elementary, a two-story, red-brick school that now is part of a museum commemorating the famous 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation case. Now Davis is at the crest of a wave of angry DeKalb residents, so angry that they have abandoned the usual blame-game between north and south DeKalb to come together against the school board.