Date of Submission
Bachelor of Architecture
Willie Peter Pittman
The Nigerian Diaspora use the Pidgin phrase, “Naija no dey carry last”, is a constant reminder to generations to succeed no matter how far you are from Nigeria and creating opportunities from the ground. The impact of colonialism has tainted the rich history of Nigeria for generations through implanting a conceptual Terra Nullius (No Man’s Land) as a right to claim land. The Europeans’ Scramble for Africa forced neighboring ethnic groups into colonies and separated generations through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, growing the Diaspora. Slowing, West Africa was being exploited for its rich resources as well as its cultural identity, and Africans in the Diaspora created creative opportunities to retain or express their cultural identity through the arts, hair weaving, textiles, and performances despite limited resources.
Atlanta is home to about 8,000 people with Nigerian ancestry and is considered the Black Mecca of United States based on its large African American Population. Summerhill, home of the Former Braves Stadium, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Atlanta that has been undergoing rapid redevelopment over the decades. Founded in 1865 as the first enclave of freed slaves and Jewish communities building a new life after the Civil War. The area drastically transformed through “Urban Renewal” in the 1960s, which left neighborhoods bulldozed to allow for the Interstate highways and local attractions like the Olympics and the Braves.
The task of empowering a society and bridging the African diaspora with community centers that express authentic values and traditions. How can these values be passed down generations to preserve cultural integrity? The intent of this thesis is to revive creative spaces where the community assembles to celebrate, collaborate, educate, and build a lasting creative legacy in Summerhill. This thesis is a proposal for improving the significant problems many African Americans face daily: crime, security, and poor quality of infrastructure with a risk of being pushed out of existing communities.