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Neighborhoods - Collier Heights

When former Atlanta construction magnate Herman J. Russell’s 1963 ranch home hit the market earlier this year for close to half a million dollars, it symbolized the hidden cultural riches of Collier Heights. Located on the city’s Westside, Collier Heights remains such a treasure due in part to its lauded history as the first mid-century neighborhood of affluence in the United States originated by black city planners. Its founding resulted directly from the infamous Peyton Road Affair, when Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. ordered for two Atlanta streets to be barricaded in December 1962 to stifle the racial integration of nearby Cascade Heights. The wall came down after being ruled unconstitutional, making way for such prestigious African-Americans as civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Sr. and Ralph David Abernathy to eventually call Collier Heights home. The neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. — Rodney Carmichael