Preserving the Legacy of Sweet Auburn Avenue

Sweet Auburn Works (SAW) will host the fourth annual Preserving the Legacy Event for the revitalization of Auburn Avenue. This year’s festivities will be held at The Estate on Piedmont, located just off the road at 3109 Piedmont Road, NE in Atlanta at 6 p.m. on June 6, 2019.

This historic venue is the perfect place to showcase the evening’s high point, an intimate conversation among two icons of Sweet Auburn, Alexis Scott and Henrietta Antonin. These women have left their mark on Auburn Avenue’s business community. Antonin spent 46 years at Atlanta Life Insurance while Scott was publisher of her family’s 91-year-old Atlanta Daily World for well over a decade.

SAW is leading the preservation-based resurgence in the Sweet Auburn district. Founded in 2012, SAW is a non-profit, community-driven, economic development organization, using innovative and practical techniques to direct revitalization that is consistent with the Avenue’s history, culture, legacy and its bright future. Sweet Auburn has been designated a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Preserving the Legacy benefit is SAW’s opportunity to celebrate the past, share the community’s vision for the future of Sweet Auburn and raise funds to continue its important work.

Auburn Avenue was dubbed “sweet” by John Wesley Dobbs, Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons; and in 1956, Fortune magazine called Sweet Auburn “the richest Negro street in the world.” The legacy of Sweet Auburn remains an epic story of Atlanta’s Black heritage.  Its legacy will come alive through the renovation of the historic buildings up and down Sweet Auburn.

“Without Auburn Avenue, and the men and women who were the leaders of this era, such as Mr. Dobbs; Mrs. Geneva Haugabrooks; Reverend William Homes Borders of Wheat Street Baptist Church; and, of course the M. L. King family, and so many other great men and women, Atlanta would be without its rudder,’ says A. J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) and chairman of the Preserving the Legacy event.

Auburn Avenue is in the heart of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic District. The District is also home to Georgia State University, extends to the Atlanta Belt Line and is within the now thriving Old Fourth Ward.  Over one million people visit this community every year.  This extraordinary district remains at the heart of Atlanta’s amazing history and heritage and makes an enduring impact on the city of Atlanta and the entire world.

SAW will showcase another great year of highlights in this celebrated district within the historic walls of The Estate on Piedmont. The home was originally built in 1797, but faithfully restored in 2011 by Legendary Event’s Tony Conway. Over the course of the evening, guests will be treated to a menu of regional cuisine and a visit to the estate’s wine cellars with Conway sharing historical facts about the venue dating back to its Wilkes County origin.

SAW will then share its work to enhance the preservation, economic development and arts and culture of the corridor through its tireless work over the past year. SAW’s “Windows Speak” project will bring life back to the original Atlanta Life Insurance Company building, located at 148 Auburn Avenue, by placing depictions of historic Atlanta Life leaders in window displays. In addition, the historic Water Tower at Studioplex will be the place for the “Art in Public Spaces” exhibition beginning with an interior mural painted inside the structure. Most significant, SAW continues to develop “Sweet Auburn Walks,” a unique urban pedestrian experience that will provide a clear, safe and pleasurable path between Auburn Avenue and the King Memorial MARTA Station.

Later in the evening, Henrietta Antonin and Alexis Scott will share their experiences, stories and some secrets about their times living, working and playing among those who called Sweet Auburn home.

Antonin, who was vice president of public relations for Atlanta Life Insurance Company, spent more than half of her life working for Atlanta Life Insurance Company and was its heart and soul in the community as the welcoming personality who greeted all to Atlanta Life. She also has a history of being deeply involved in the art and politics of Sweet Auburn. Alexis, the granddaughter of William A. Scott II — the founder of Atlanta Daily World, is the heir to a great newspaper heritage. From her early days with the Cox Newspapers, until taking over the reins of the family-owned newspaper, she demonstrated her journalistic credentials and business acumen on her path ascending to publisher of Atlanta Daily World. Alexis intertwines a celebrated family tradition and an historic Atlanta experience into her narrative.

Donor costs for attendance vary from $500 per ticket.

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