Saturday, July 28, 2012

No House Proud Banks in Atlanta

Posted by Deirdre Oakley, ATLANTA, GA -- The foreclosure crisis has taken a severe toll on the Atlanta area, particularly in the Black, mostly working class and poor neighborhoods, speculated before the crash to become revitalized. Many of these neighborhoods are on the Southwest side. These neighborhoods became the victims of extensive predatory lending and mortgage fraud.  In fact, Atlanta as a whole is rated sixth in the country in terms of these practices. What this has meant is that a significant amount properties in the Metro area are now owned by various national banks. But these banks are not 'house proud', letting their properties go to weed. This strikes me as counter-intuitive: banks want to make profits, so why not maintain their properties? Apparently this does not affect their profit margins.


The consequences of unmaintained are dire for other area homeowners. Property values have decreased, and property crimes have increased. This has prompted residents to call the banks about derelict trees, untamed lawns, and other vacant property problems. But mostly nothing happens. And THIS has led to a thriving business in door and window iron bar installations.

Deirdre Oakley is the Editor of Social Shutter and an Associate Professor in Sociology at Georgia State University. You can contact her at And...guess what? She's ALWAYS looking for new submissions to this blog! Please don't be intimated!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

If New York City Can Be Bike Friendly, Every City Can

Posted by Angie Luvara, NEW YORK, NY-- One of the biggest transitions I had to make in my move to Atlanta last year was getting used to driving in this city. Not only is the traffic out of control, but people drive like maniacs here. Now that I’m on the verge of getting a bicycle to use as my primary mode of transportation, I've become even more aware of how scary and biker unfriendly Atlanta roads are. I recently took a trip to New York City -- another city scary to drive in -- and I noticed that there were bike lanes everywhere. In many cases, like the one I captured above, the bike lanes were actually located between the sidewalk and the parked cars, providing an extra safety measure for bikers.  The extent of New York City's bike lanes surprised me, especially in contrast with the few bike lanes I know of in Atlanta. New York is one of the most densely populated cities around, with its own unique set of traffic issues. If this city can take measures to make their bikers safe, can’t every city? There is a Transportation Referendum coming up for vote that would fund transportation improvements in the greater Atlanta area. I hope it includes bike lanes.

Angie Luvara is a photographer and Managing Editor of Social Shutter. She is also a Doctoral Student at Georgia State University. To view more of her photography, go to her blog at

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1970: The Year Women Finally Got the Right to Vote

Editor's note: I was in college in the 1980s and by then I thought discrimination and prejudice against women were things of the past (well at least for white women anyway). I wasn't aware of it happening to me often. But during the times throughout my life when I knew it was happening I felt deep shock, anger, and a visceral hurt, although I never expressed it. Instead I'd say to myself: "stay calm, confident, poised, proud, don't get defensive, and find a way around this". Our Contributor, Debby Yoder,  gave me another shock this week but this time my reaction was: "My God, I had no idea!"  Her fascinating and informative post on women's suffrage in Georgia illustrates the very long road to voting rights for women in this state, a battle that didn't end until 1970.

Posted by Debby Yoder, ATHENS, GA -- Many people think women received the right to vote in 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. While it's well known that racial barriers to voting persisted, little known is that fact that it wasn't until 1970 that Georgia gave women the right to vote. Think about it: 1970, the year of Apollo 13, mounting opposition to the Vietnam War, and the Kent State shootings -- not the 50 years earlier like you read in history books. Basically the Georgia legislature voted against the 19th Amendment on a number of occassions. It was finally ratified in 1970, not too many years before Georgia's own Jimmy Carter became President.

There is a long and complicated history to the suffrage movement and it is now being shared with the world as part of The University of Georgia’s Special Collections Library. In fact, 2010 marked the 90th anniversary of the movement.   The collection is available to researchers everywhere . It includes a variety of items from both sides of the movement For example did you know the original 99ers were those opposed to women voting? The Georgia Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage believed granting women the right to vote would lead to “the final undoing of our government” and produced a pamphlet entitled Unchaining the Demons of the Lower World: A Petition of Ninety-Nine Per Cent Against Suffrage. The pamphlet is available along with writings and artifacts from Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. It’s an interesting peek into an era many of us know little about.

Debby Yoder is a Social Shutter Contributor and is working on her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology at Georgia State University. She comes from a long line of photographers -- including her father -- and enjoys documenting a variety social issues and scenes. She can be contacted at

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Caribbean Proud

Posted by Debby Yoder, ATANTA, GA --  Atlanta boasts a rich and diverse Caribbean culture with most of the 28 island nations represented.  Recently the city's 24th Annual Caribbean Carnival was held downtown. This famous parade began on West Peachtree Street and wound to the Sweet Auburn District for an all-day festival. There were more than 30 masquerade bands, marching bands, and steel bands delighting the thousands of spectators with beautiful costumes and a variety of musical traditions. And in the Sweet Auburn festival village there was more: foods from every region of the Caribbean, and lively musical performances throughout the day. The annual tradition has become the third largest Caribbean festival in the country, and this year featured Jamaica for its 50 years of independence. Everybody had a good time and I am looking forward to the city's Caribbean Jerk Festival happening over Labor Day weekend.

Debby Yoder is a Social Shutter Contributor and is working on her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology at Georgia State University. She comes from a long line of photographers -- including her father -- and enjoys documenting a variety of urban scenes. She can be contacted at