The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System recently held a renaming ceremony for family, friends and community members in honor of Louise Watley, an iconic Atlanta figure who has fought for the rights of residents for decades through her work in tenants’ rights, public housing and education advocacy and as she was heralded during the ceremony “a must-have endorsement to win any political office in the city of Atlanta.
Family and friends of Watley attended the standing room only event to celebrate the unveiling of the newly named Louise Watley Library at Southeast Atlanta. Among those who came to celebrate herlegacy were Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts, District 5 Commissioner Marvin Arrington, Jr., State Representative “Able” Mable Thomas, Atlanta City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd, former Clayton County Chairman Eldrin Bell, former City Councilman and WAOK host, Derrick Boazman, Fulton County Manager, Dick Anderson and Library Director, Gabriel Morley.
Watley was celebrated as a woman who knew how to get things done, having fought for the rights of the residents at the Carver Homes community (now the Villages at Carver), located across from her namesake Library. She demanded access to workforce training for residents, children’s programming, and equal and free public education for all. During the ceremony, local artist C. A. Coleman AKA C. A. “THE ARTIST” unveiled a newly created portrait of Watley which will be displayed in the lobby of the newly renamed facility.
The Louise Watley Library at Southeast Atlanta was opened in June 2016 as part of the Library System’s Capital Improvement Program, Phase I, which saw the opening of eight new libraries and the renovation and expansion of two more. Currently, the Library System is undergoing the Phase II portion of the Capital Improvement Program, the renovation of 22 libraries, including the downtown headquarters, Central Library.