Georgia 5th District
Venture out of the quiet of the Ebenezer Baptist Church or the shade of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s boyhood home two blocks away and into the steamy heat of the Georgia sun, and one can see, a mile away, downtown Atlanta’s atrium skyscrapers. They are evidence of the wealth and vibrant growth of the commercial capital of the South, the metropolis that has grown up where there was little more than a railroad junction at the time of the Civil War. But the human achievement that is downtown Atlanta is overshadowed by the revolution started in large part by a man who grew up on Auburn Avenue. Atlanta’s white establishment, led by mayors William Hartsfield and Ivan Allen and Coca-Cola’s Robert Woodruff, deserve credit for abandoning segregation, but it was King and other civil rights leaders who took the risks that led them to do so. Atlanta’s city fathers acted out of good will, but also with an eye for the economic growth of the city, which they knew would be hurt by violent resistance.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
Today, Atlanta is the center of the nation’s ninth-largest metropolitan area. From Auburn Avenue, it spreads into two dozen counties of northern Georgia. From 2000 to 2007, it was the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan area. Its Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is the busiest in the world, with 90 million passengers in 2008, nearly 1 million takeoffs and landings and an expansion of its international terminal under way. Atlanta also has vibrant office centers, in downtown, midtown, and Buckhead to the north. Stadiums and sports facilities were built for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Coca-Cola’s skyscraper headquarters stands as a symbol of Atlanta’s most successful worldwide business. In 2006, Coca-Cola donated a $10 million parcel of land near Centennial Park for a $100 million civil rights museum to house the Martin Luther King Jr. papers. Mayor Shirley Franklin had orchestrated a $32 million loan to rescue them from a Sotheby’s auction.
The 5th Congressional District of Georgia includes all of the city of Atlanta, down to the suburb of East Point to the south. It occupies most of the land inside the Interstate 285 ring road—the city of Atlanta, including posh and Republican Buckhead, the westernmost part of DeKalb County, and the northern edge of Clayton County, including the airport. The 5th District is overwhelmingly Democratic.