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The Soul of Reynoldstown

Mural commissioned by American Institute of Architects's Young Architect Forum in partnership with Mill Creek Residential Trust and Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League

Location: Modera Reynoldstown - 780 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30316 (wall facing Pearl St.)

35' x 13'

June 2021

With this mural I was tasked with bridging the past of Reynoldstown to the present and future of Reynoldstown. In the early planning stages I had the honor to talk and sit down with some of the legacy residents of Reynoldstown and they shared beautiful memories of their community.

The eyes are the window to the soul,” the phrase that came to mind when listening to them.

Their eyes are the soul to memories of a rich past. As the first established black town in Atlanta, it was crucial to represent some of the black families that still live in the neighborhood. The eyes in the background represents

Madison Reynolds (who Reynoldstown was named after), an ex-slave who moved to the area and became a prominent and successful landowner.

Through the eyes are images of the past. The left eye being an aerial street view of Reynoldstown in the 1890s. The right eye showing some of the historic architecture that was mentioned in conversations with residents:

🟡 I.P Reynolds building - The son of Madison Reynolds who became the first black person to build a two story brick building in the community, in 1906. (Still stands today on Wylie Ave.)

🟡 St. Philip AME Church - a church built in the 1920s by black parishioners from granite from Stone Mountain carried by horse and buggy to Reynoldstown.

🟡 A shotgun house - A popular house structure in the 1900s, a house where you can stand on the front porch and see straight through to the back door. Some scholars believe these designs can be traced back to Africa.

In the foreground is a group of residents I met walking around Reynoldstown along with a few legacy members who shared some of Reynoldstown’s history with me. This group represents the diverse group of beautiful people living in the neighborhood. A group no matter age, race, beliefs, everyone is working and living together.

Which leads me to the words “Togetherness, Community, and Love.” These were words that many legacy residents mentioned when speaking about Reynoldstown. Their hope is for the sense of togetherness, community, and love will continue into the future.

We had a community paint day on Juneteenth where members of the community came out to paint with me. It was a great turnout and residents had the opportunity to learn more about their neighborhood. See photos below.

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