Atlanta, Georgia 2021-07-21 14:30:53 –
More than 40 years ago, a series of murders spread horror throughout Atlanta.
The domestic terminal atrium at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport displays portraits of the victims, primarily young black men.
The title of the exhibition is “Atlanta Children’s Memorial Portrait: At the Memorial of Atlanta Children’s Murder Victims”.. Each oil on canvas portrait is for a child with a combination of blue sky and white cloud background.
Artist Dwayne Mitchell was selected from a contest of over 100 participants to create over 30 portraits for the victims of the Atlanta child murder.
“When I draw these 30 children, I can only imagine the deep loss and sadness of my parents and family who experienced this. It is unthinkable that I do not have all the answers surrounding this horrific event. All 30 of these innocent children, I can’t help feeling their pain, “Mitchell wrote in his artist’s statement. “As artists, we do our best to tell their story and try to show you what our subject is experiencing and feeling. Looking at these pictures, No bad things or bad intentions, only joy, fun and love for the family. In a nutshell: “innocence”.
The Atlanta Child Murder Case was a set of more than 30 murders committed between 1979 and 1981. In 1982, Wayne Williams was convicted of the deaths of a young adult and two adults believed to have killed one child. He is currently serving two life imprisonments in Hancock County Prison, Hancock County, Georgia.
After Williams was convicted, the rest of the Atlanta child murder case was over. Williams had never been charged with murder, but was liable for the murder. This led to a controversy over who really killed the children in Atlanta.
There was controversy over Williams’ conviction. In his community in Atlanta’s Dixie Hills district, many didn’t believe Williams could kill so many people. The 1986 issue of Atlanta Voice reveals how new evidence linked the Ku Klux Klan to the Atlanta Child Murders. The evidence had been withheld by Williams and his lawyer at the time of his trial and could have proved his innocence.
In 2005, DeKalb County Police Chief Luis Graham ordered the resumption of four proceedings credited to Williams. However, authorities in neighboring counties did not take any action to resume the case under their jurisdiction.
Bottoms were in elementary school when the murder began. In a New York Times article, she talks about a fierce warning that she won’t go out alone during that time.
In 2019, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms led the prosecution to resume the Atlanta child murder case. Bottoms says he hopes that technological advances and new genetic databases will reveal new information in the review of evidence.
She issued an executive order to launch the Atlanta Children’s Memorial Task Force. The Task Force is made up of mayor appointments from the local community.
The memorial exhibition at the airport is a way to remember and celebrate the victims of the reopening of the cold case 40 years ago. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mitchell’s work was scheduled to be exhibited in the summer of 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The paintings will be available until September 8th.
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