The Little 5 Points Business Association, in collaboration with MODA, is set to host a free walking tour as part of Jane's Walk on May 5 at 3pm. Jane's Walk is an annual festival of neighborhood walks that generate conversation about the city and celebrate its vibrant past, present, and future. The nationwide festival honors Jane Jacobs, who was an urban activist, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and believer in the power of citizens to make a difference in their city.
Don Bender and Kelly Jordan, former activists who focused on the revitalization of Little 5 Points in the 1970's and beyond with particular attention to the arts and preservation will lead the tour. They will share first-hand stories from the 60s to the 90s, including how the community saved itself from destruction by highway—a similar story Jacobs'. The tour will also feature legacy businesses such as 7 Stages, Variety Playhouse, L5P Community Center, Bond Credit Union, and more.
Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, bring water, and a camera to capture the sights and sounds of Little 5 Points. The tour, which begins at 3pm, will cover a little over one mile of one of Atlanta's most historic communities and will last approximately 1.5 hours.
The meeting place for the tour is the Little 5 Points Community Center, located at 1083 Austin Avenue, Atlanta, GA, 30307. The site is a short 1/2 mile walk from the Inman Park MARTA Station.
Jane Jacobs is perhaps best known for her successful efforts to stop the proposed construction of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have demolished many historic neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan. Jacobs and other community activists argued that the expressway would have destroyed the vibrant street life and unique character of the neighborhoods it passed through, and would have done little to solve the city's traffic problems. After years of organizing and advocacy, the project was finally cancelled in 1971, and Jacobs became a hero to urban activists around the world.
Similarly, Don Bender played a key role in preventing the construction of a highway through Little 5 Points in the 1970s. At the time, the city of Atlanta planned to build a major highway through the neighborhood, which would have destroyed many historic buildings and disrupted the community's burgeoning arts scene. Bender and other community activists organized protests, lobbied city officials, and worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the potential impacts of the highway. Thanks to their efforts the highway was ultimately cancelled, and Little 5 Points in the meantime began to attract the counter-culture crowd it's been known for since.
To register for the tour, RSVP at https://moda.gatherlearning.com/events/little-5-points-history-walk.