Making the "international city"
Olsson, Tore Carl
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In the wake of the Civil Rights movement, image-conscious Atlanta boosters unveiled a new slogan for their metropolis: the city that had previously been “too busy to hate” was now the “international city,” or “the world’s next great city.” Traditional historical accounts acknowledge the slow transition of Atlanta from Southern city to global landmark by viewing internationalization from the top-down, emphasizing the importance of the Hartsfield-Jackson international airport, growing foreign investment, and the later Olympic Games. But this dominant narrative leaves out an important factor that truly made Atlanta a cosmopolitan city: the steady influx of thousands of working-class immigrants and refugees. In portraying immigrant life within Atlanta since 1970, this thesis presents three vignette-style examinations of work, law, and culture in Atlanta’s immigrant communities, and demonstrates that making the “international city” was a slow and arduous process that sometimes faced resistance from native Atlantans.
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