Ben Hill

Spring 2021

“ben hill”

emma ressler

The Ben Hill neighborhood is located in the very southwest corner of Atlanta. Settled in 1820, Ben Hill is home to one of the oldest Methodist churches in Atlanta; the Mt. Gilead Methodist Church was founded in 1824 and is marked with a historical marker. The neighborhood was named after Benjamin Harvey Hill, a confederate senator who served during the civil war who fought against the abolition of slavery, and later against Radical Reconstruction. Now, the neighborhood hosts a 97.8% Black population and many small black-owned businesses.

Before closing its doors, Ben Hill was home to Jellybeans, a notorious skating rink that the movie ATL is loosely based on. Every Sunday evening Jellybeans was packed with a predominately black teenage crowd looking to escape Atlanta’s south side’s harsh environment. Included in this crowd were Atlanta-native hip-hop artists OutKast, Jermaine Dupri, Little Jon, Trillville, and TLC.

Ben Hill’s residents are resilient and hopeful for the continuing uplift of the neighborhood, despite facing the challenges many low-income areas face- including lack of economic development and the effects of being in a food desert.

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