A Discussion with Mtamanika Youngblood and Donell Woodson
What can Charlottesville learn from one of the most successful African American owned and operated HDDC’s in the country? 100 people from our community had the opportunity to learn about this important organization while on the Charlottesville Civil Rights Pilgrimage. We invite you to continue this engagement at home with a conversation with Sweet Auburn’s former executive director Mtamanika Youngblood and board member Donell Woodson. After their presentation, Ms. Youngblood and Mr. Woodson will be joined on stage by City Councilor Dr. Wes Bellamy to consider how an HDDC works within the context of his incentive package.
The Sweet Auburn Historic District Development Corporation (HDDC) is Atlanta’s oldest surviving community development corporation and has spearheaded nearly four decades of pioneering urban revitalization work in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood.
Co-founded by Coretta Scott King, Christine King Farris, and John Cox in 1980 as an all-volunteer neighborhood-based organization, the HDDC was formed to protect the residential assets surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth site on Auburn Avenue. The organization’s leaders have dedicated themselves to restoring this once prestigious district to the proud, economically diverse and viable neighborhood it once was, while maintaining the community’s character, celebrating its history and preventing the displacement of long-term residents.
Mtamanika Youngblood was named the first Executive Director of the HDDC in 1992. Currently, she serves as the organization’s Board Chair, and is the President of Sweet Auburn Works, a nonprofit organization committed to the revitalization of the Sweet Auburn commercial corridor.
Ms. Youngblood is a nationally recognized community development practitioner, and a strong proponent of addressing both the human and physical development needs of revitalizing communities through equitable development and sustainability.
Donell Woodson is an urban community developer in the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic District. Through his work as a planner in Sweet Auburn, Mr. Woodson seeks to preserve, restore and develop the district, with Dr. King’s philosophy of the “Beloved Community” as a guiding principle. He is currently a Community Development Trainer with Focused Community Strategies and serves on the Board of the HDDC.
This event is part of the Charlottesville/Albemarle County joint Community Remembrance Project and is made possible through the generous support of all who contributed to the Charlottesville Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Events in the auditorium are made possible by the generous support of Ting inc.