Atlanta Child Murder victims to be honored with wall, ‘eternal flame’

Renderings show the Atlanta Child Murder memorial wall and eternal flame that will sit at Atlanta City Hall. The memorial was approved by Atlanta City Council on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Renderings by Gordon Huether Studio via City of Atlanta)
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Renderings show the Atlanta Child Murder memorial wall and eternal flame that will sit at Atlanta City Hall. The memorial was approved by Atlanta City Council on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Renderings by Gordon Huether Studio via City of Atlanta)

Credit: Renderings by Gordon Huether Studio via City of Atlanta

From 1979 to 1981 in Atlanta, 29 black children and young adults were killed in a rash a violence that terrorized the city. Now, they will be permanently memorialized at Atlanta City Hall.

The Atlanta City Council on Monday approved an “eternal flame” and memorial wall that will list the names of those murdered or left missing four decades ago.

There has been an intense need for closure surrounding the cases in part because no one has ever been charged. After Wayne Williams was sentenced to life in prison for killing two adults, authorities closed the children’s death investigations and said they were sure Williams killed the kids. Williams says he is innocent. Many families still want the law to definitively say who killed their children or investigate further.

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“Every one of the victims’ lives matter, and my memorial proposal is a testament to this community’s commitment to never forget this tragedy, and to never forget these souls,” wrote California-based designer firm Gordon Huether Studio in its presentation to Atlanta.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms promised in August 2019 that state and local officials would take a fresh look at the Atlanta Child Murders days before a new documentary about the killings was set to air.

Bottoms in May 2019 also created the Atlanta Children’s Memorial Taskforce, which suggested the $280,000 memorial that council members approved Monday.

The 52-foot-long curved structure will be located on the Washington Street side of City Hall.

The memorial will be tapered to look like a flickering flame and also include a bench directly across from where the names of victims will be displayed on stainless steel, according to the artist’s presentation to the city. There will be a small shelf for each name where someone can leave a memento to honor the dead.

The goal is to have the memorial installed by December, according to officials with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

Renderings show the Atlanta Child Murder memorial wall and eternal flame that will sit at Atlanta City Hall. The memorial was approved by Atlanta City Council on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Renderings by Gordon Huether Studio via City of Atlanta)
Caption
Renderings show the Atlanta Child Murder memorial wall and eternal flame that will sit at Atlanta City Hall. The memorial was approved by Atlanta City Council on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Renderings by Gordon Huether Studio via City of Atlanta)

Credit: Renderings by Gordon Huether Studio via City of Atlanta

Credit: Renderings by Gordon Huether Studio via City of Atlanta

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January 26, 2020