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Redeeming the Cyclorama: Why the century-old attraction is anything but a monument to the Confederacy
Conceived in Chicago, created in Milwaukee, and premiered in Minneapolis, the Cyclorama was meant to celebrate the Union’s great triumph in capturing Atlanta and hastening the end of the Civil War. But when the painting moved South, new audiences flipped its meaning, bastardizing the spectacle into a testament to white Southern pride. For decades, it was a masterpiece of misinterpretation. Now, it has a new life at the Atlanta History Center.
The list of acts read like a jazz aficionado’s fantasy dinner party: Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Buddy Rich, and more. It laid the groundwork for mayor Maynard Jackson to later launch the city’s own—and free—Atlanta Jazz Festival, which has been held annually since 1978 and starts this year on May 26.
A new documentary on Maynard Jackson delves deep into the struggles and scrutiny of Atlanta’s first black mayor
It’s now been 15 years since Maynard Jackson’s death, but the issues explored in the new documentary film about his life—the city’s fraught racial history, the expectations placed on a black mayor, the scrutiny on minority contracts for city business—feel very relevant today.
He may have been born in Dallas, but Maynard Jackson was an Atlantan through and through.
It has been more than three decades since two teenage boys went missing in Atlanta in the summer of 1979. Their disappearances were the first of 29 kidnappings and murders that rocked the city until 1981. That tumultuous chapter is revisited now in dramatic form with the world premiere of Janine Nabers’s Serial Black Face at Actor’s Express.
Since Kasim Reed took office, more than 20,000 white transplants have moved inside the city limits. That influx, combined with the past decade’s foreclosure crisis that disproportionately affected black residents, means today the city’s black population is roughly 50 percent, compared with 67 percent in 1990.
Between three syllables uttered on September 18, 1990, everything changed in Atlanta, and so did our city’s place in the world.
Playwright and novelist Pearl Cleage titled her memoir Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs, but one suspects her child, now in her forties, is happy it took awhile for Mom’s breezily candid book, crafted from 1970s and 1980s diary entries, to be published.