To say Bankhead Highway, is to at least be on the path of identifying with what has come to be known as "The Real Atlanta" or "Old Atlanta". This big little town has gone thru an identity switch or two and currently is sitting dead in the middle of another one. About 4 years ago, the term "New Atlanta" was being thrown around, mostly in music circles at first, then next thing you know it was a reality show on TV and completely uncool when it was all said and done. While that was happening, it sparked more than a few conversation regarding what's even new about Atlanta? What's wrong with old Atlanta, whats real and so forth. If you're expecting me to answer any of these questions now, I got nuthin for ya bruh. A lot of the people who talk about real and/or old Atlanta merely offer insinuations about what it is. Part of me feels it's a you either know or you don't type of thing.
What I can personally say as someone who has been a resident for 10 years and has been visiting since about '98, there is a personality and soul that isn't as present in these times. As I think about it, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case for a number of black communities as hundreds of them go thru these changes to their landscape. One of my first introductions to Atlanta happened on Bankhead Highway (now known as Donald Lee Hollowell) when I went to the Westside Bounce. The Bounce was originally on the eastside of Atlanta and was known as one of the crunkest places in the city to party. To give you an idea of what the Bounce was like, go watch Ludacris "Move Bitch" video, it was shot at the eastside Bounce. Right around the time I visited the WestSide Bounce, Bankhead Hwy. had either just been or was about to be renamed to Donald Lee Hollowell. In addition to that, I lived on James Jackson behind Bowen Homes while transitioning between an eviction, when I did street team work I visited ToeJam Music, been to Overlook a few times for the view, so while I feel I can't really say, I do feel some of these things are in line with the vision of "Real Atlanta".
Bankhead remains one of the few neighborhoods, that hasn't really come under the shovel of development just yet. It, like other streets in Atlanta are like these relics in time, where you can see how much life there was at one point. Once thriving communities, that are turning into shells of themselves. With the confirmed Superbowl bid for the city in 2019, I'm looking forward to seeing how this part of the city develops. I'm interested to hear what the people have to say, those who walk Bankhead daily and watch business after business shut down.