Sunday, December 2, 2012

Requiem for 100 Auburn Avenue

I am fairly emotionless. Well, that’s not exactly true. But I tend to express emotion on paper better than face-to-face. Wednesday was the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s last day at Atlanta Life, aka Herndon Plaza, aka 100 Auburn Avenue. We are not going far away. We have taken a suite at the Odd Fellows Building at 250 Auburn Avenue, just two blocks down the street. But this has been home for nearly 13 years, and I will miss it.

We negotiated an inclusion pact with NASCAR in the sumptuous boardroom upstairs. I worked out a deal on behalf of mistreated Nationwide agents down in the cafeteria. And used the same room to tell John Deere officials that “we can make excuses, or we can make progress” toward its first black franchisee. We did not always win. Atlanta Life was scene of more than a few high profile losses. After Troy Davis’ execution, we vowed to keep fighting the death penalty. RPC tried (and failed) to explain why the charter school amendment was a bad idea and the TSPLOST was a good idea.

I never walked through the atrium without being inspired by the artistic genius of Wardsworth Jarrell or the entrepreneurial mendacity of Alonzo Herndon. Rev. Jackson urged Colin Powell to intervene in Haiti from the phone on my desk. But, it was not all business. We celebrated my daughter’s college graduation here, and last week I called her from here to check on my first grand-child. A building is only bricks and mortar. It’s the principles that matter long after the last crate is loaded onto the moving van. That is what I am going to keep telling myself today and in the days and weeks ahead.
Janice L. Mathis


Sisters in Law said...

I must have been in shock. I watched them label and assess the art. I spoke to the team that came in to appraise Atlanta Life's priceless collection of African American art. Later, I bristled when the movers came to pack it up and cart it off. But I didn't think to take pictures. Me....the one who urged them over the years to create a catalogue. Perhaps it will be mounted somewhere in the City. If it is, don't miss this exhibit.

PublicEyeReport said...

Yes Janice, the memories of the press conferences addressing important issues both local and national. Hosting international vistors and sharing the proud history.
Breaking bread with Ms. Williams soul food and fellowship with a meeting of the minds that jumpstarted so many programs, initiatives and change.
Glad to have been a part for that space in time with you. It pulls the heartstrings like the closing of historic Paschal's. Blessed to be in the number.

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