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Volunteers Revitalize Atlanta Black Crackers Practice Field, Bush Mountain Community

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) --  Volunteers revitalized a big piece of history in one of Atlanta's oldest black communities on July 28, 2021. The Atlanta Braves, Delta Airlines, and community members joined together to refurbish a historic baseball practice field and to plant more seeds of history on Bush Mountain.

More than a hundred volunteers did some heavy lifting and digging, refurbishing the old Atlanta Black Crackers practice field. "The efforts that are going on today are helping us to elevate this little known history of the Atlanta Black Crackers as well as the legacy of the Bush Mountain Community," said Dr. Na'Taki Osborne Jelks, the co-founder and board chairperson of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

Family members of some of the historic players were there. "I used to hear the stories, where they played downtown," said Larry Jenkins, whose uncles Alfred and Preston Ingram were on the team. "I'm just glad everybody's here, because this is a historic site, here in Bush Mountain."

Community leaders joined the Atlanta Braves Organization for the occasion. "It was important for us to be able to honor the history of baseball in our city and the equity and access that the Negro Leagues provided," said Atlanta Braves Foundation Executive Director Danielle Bedasse.

Volunteers did some gardening, built picnic tables, refurbished a fire pit and created a pathway to the road. "It's wonderful to be able to reconnect the community history with the overall big picture of Atlanta," said Ryan Collins, a volunteer. "We're also planting a magnolia seedling that comes from the Atlanta Crackers Baseball Field," said Jelks. That tree still stands in Midtown where Spiller Park used to be and where the Atlanta Black Crackers also played.

"It's well-deserved and overdue, and I want to thank the Atlanta Braves, Major League Baseball, Delta, Hands On Atlanta and anyone else," said Bush Mountain Community President Tavius Elder. Those who grew up in Bush Mountain say the revitalization adds to their rich history dating back to the Civil War. "It's where we played kick ball and everything when we were coming up in grade school," said Wenonia Traylor, a resident.

Organizers say this is just the first step of more plans to revitalize Southwest Atlanta.

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