Gene Greissman If this fuzzy mug looks familiar it’s because Gene Griessman might possibly be Abraham Lincoln incarnate.  I kid you not!  The award-winning actor/writer brings the 16th to life with reenactments, books, and films and, as luck would have it, he’s also my friend.   

On my last day in Georgia, Griessman volunteered to co-pilot as I navigated my rental past some favorite attractions in the Big Peach.   Our joyride took place near twilight but traffic was surprisingly light so we really got around. 

CNN, Coca-Cola, Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, the National Center for Civil & Human Rights, City Hall, and the Moorish-designed Fox Theatre; we left no stone un-turned.

Ebenezer Church

We finally stopped for photos at – no surprise to the man who abolished slavery – the Ebenezer Baptist Church.   This is a spiritual home to many citizens of the “Sweet Auburn” community but it’s most recognized as the church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was baptized, ordained, and served as co-pastor until 1968. 

I was gobsmacked to finally visit this sacred place.  Its significance in the fight against racism and the civil rights movement cannot be understated.  For example,  its relevance was reignited when Raphael G. Warnock, Ebenezer’s senior pastor was elected senator, a few months ago.   In July 2020, I watched a live stream of John Lewis’s funeral with former President Barack Obama delivering the eulogy.

Several people gathered out front, taking photos, repeating prayers, and standing in awe.  I peeked inside the murky window of the locked doors hoping to catch a glimpse of preparations for Sunday services.   

Ebenezer Church

Georgia Tech

After our historic starting point, we circled the campus of one of the world’s leading universities for engineering, Georgia Tech.   Griessman has a soft spot for his beloved Yellow Jackets because he taught a popular communications course with an office overlooking the Bobby Dodd Stadium.  Happy graduates in cap and gown posed for pictures in the 1916 RamblinWreck.  

I have to boast: my friend’s daughter attends Georgia Tech for computer science and gets straight A’s! (Maybe in my next lifetime?)Georgia Tech's Rambling Wreck

Nearby, a bronze tribute to “The Three Pioneers,” the first three African-American fully matriculants to attend the college in 1961.  The sculpture is a reminder of the length of time it took for southern colleges to accept diversity.

Georgia Tech First Matriculated Black Students

Settling on dinner grub proved harder than a college exam!  The first couple of eateries, Mary Macs Tea Room and The Varsity Drive-in, had queues out of the door so we left downtown and settled on the OK Cafe.

I ordered up the last of the fresh trout special complemented with southern coleslaw and fried green tomatoes.  Nothing fancy but this evening wasn’t about the food scene but rather the notable attractions that make Atlanta so special.

 

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