The hush in southwest Atlanta

Writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the terror that seized Atlanta’s African American community during and after the child murders of the late 70s and early 80s, Tayari Jones puzzles over the silence that endures in the area where she grew up:

Three years ago, the summer of my 30th year, I published a novel, “Leaving Atlanta,” a novel based on my experiences growing up in Atlanta during this terrible moment in the city’s history. At book signings, I was often asked to speculate about the cause of the silence surrounding these murders. We are, after all, obsessed with serial killings. People are still talking about Jack The Ripper more than 100 years later.

But at the book signings, I knew what answer people were looking for: The world has forgotten these murders because the victims were black and mostly poor. And I believe that on many levels this simple explanation is sadly accurate. But it cannot explain away the silence in my own community, the hush in southwest Atlanta, the home of many of the murdered children, the area of the city where many of those whose lives were directly touched still reside.

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