Birthplace of MLK looks forward after 'endangered' designation
At Wheat Street Gardens farmers see a connection between their work and the work of Auburn Avenue's most famous residents.
August 10th, 2012
01:05 PM ET

Birthplace of MLK looks forward after 'endangered' designation

By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

(CNN) - Atlanta's Auburn Avenue, the street which gave the world Martin Luther King Jr. is endangered. That's according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The group is concerned about a lack of commercial development along the historic Auburn Avenue corridor in downtown Atlanta.

This designation is the second for Auburn Avenue. It drew curiosity and questions from business owners along the street itself. Windsor Jones opened a bakery here five years ago in large part because of the historical nature of the neighborhood:

[4:55] "You definitely lose a sense of what the town was built on because Auburn Avenue was the richest black street in America. So for it to be on the endangered list, it's kind of sad because I mean less than 60 years ago it was thriving."

People along the street also worry that history might get in the way of sorely needed development.  Eugene Cook, for one, has incorporated history into his farming work:

[5:40] "Humans, every human, definitely deserves to eat good food so it is absolutely in that lineage of human rights issues."

Cook now works a few acres right in the middle of the district, known as Wheat Street Gardens. He trains new farmers and tends to organic produce. All of it, he says, is following the work done in service of social justice and human rights.

It's one small project in an area that preservationists say needs many more to avoid losing precious buildings and the history that lives inside their walls.

Mary Alex Romero and Caleigh Derreberry contributed to this report.

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