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About This Image:

There’s a lot of history on the streets of Atlanta like Big Bethel Church seen in the Sweet Auburn artwork here. Big Bethel AME is the oldest church in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. The historic church was founded in the 1840s in Marthasville, Georgia. If that name is not familiar, it’s because Marthasville would become first Terminus and then finally Atlanta. So, Big Bethel has been at the heart of Sweet Auburn since before there was technically an Atlanta.

Big Bethel is so inexorably tied to Sweet Auburn that it was long considered the de facto city hall of Sweet Auburn. That Atlanta neighborhood is a designated historic district today owing to its long history as an African American community and the civil rights movement. In fact, the basement of Big Bethel is where the first classes for Morris Brown are said to have met way back in 1881. The current church building with its distinctive “Jesus Saves” sign, though, is comparatively modern. It was built following a fire in the 1920s.

This artwork is based on photos taken for the US Government’s Historic American Building Survey in 1979 by James R. Lochkart. This particular angle really captures the architecture of the old church beautifully and I loved how it includes the surrounding city like Bethel Towers rising into the sky beyond. There’s a real sense of Big Bethel’s place in the midst of the city of Atlanta here

I would love to hear how you connect with this historic Atlanta print? Did you attend Big Bethel church? Or perhaps it speaks to you about the history of Sweet Auburn and the people who have called it home? I do hope you will take a second to stop and share your thoughts about this artwork.

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    About Me

    I’m Mark Tisdale, a Georgia artist whose journey started with a love of travel and a desire to capture the beautiful places I saw. It’s a path that has changed my life in ways I never would have imagined. I feel quite fortunate to spend my days doing something I love. I have been working as an artist for over a decade and I have supported myself as a full time artist for eight years and counting.

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