Council member Michael Julian Bond commemorated Washington Park’s centennial anniversary alongside The Conservancy at Historic Washington Park during a celebration event held Sunday, Nov. 3. The event, which was held at Booker T. Washington High School, also commemorated the influential individuals who made the establishment of the historic Westside possible, according to a press release.
“Washington Park has such an incredibly rich history, especially as the first public park of its kind for African Americans in the South. Alongside this legacy, it continues to be a tremendous resource in our community and provides a strong sense of public pride,” Bond said. “It was a great honor to be able to celebrate the vital role it has played in the history of our city during Sunday’s event. The park is one of the focal points of the historic Washington Park neighborhood and has helped to create innumerable connections in our community.”
The Washington Park neighborhood, developed by entrepreneur and insurance magnate Heman Perry, was the first planned African American suburb in Atlanta. The park itself is just blocks from Booker T. Washington High School, which opened in 1924 as the first high school in Georgia for African Americans.
The establishment of the school coincided with a period of great growth in African American neighborhoods in southwest Atlanta. Many of the homes and civic institutions in the Washington Park community were also designed and built by African American architects and contractors for the families relocating to the neighborhood, according to The Conservancy at Washington Park. This was during a time when African Americans were otherwise denied professional licensure, and therefore denied commissions to work in other parts of the city.
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