The home where Coretta Scott King raised her four children after the assassination of her husband is still neat and tidy. The yard even has a splash of begonias.
But opposite 234 Sunset Avenue, within what was once the most famous middle-class black neighborhood in America, is a row of frame houses sporting “for rent” signs outside nearly every other door.
And if you travel just a hundred yards north on Sunset, across Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, you enter — quite literally — a kind of no man’s land.
Tract 23 is ground zero in the depopulation of black Atlanta, a place where plywood windows are all the rage. In 2000, census takers counted roughly 2,700 people in the neighborhood. Last spring, the U.S. Census Bureau tallied 1,476. That’s a 45 percent decrease.
More than half the housing in Tract 23, in an area a stone’s throw from the Georgia World Congress Center, stands vacant.
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2010 figures for growth-hungry Atlanta.