In Season 1, we began on the West Side of Atlanta, an area that is experiencing many architectural and environmental changes, as well as population shifts—as the city develops West. The first episode was the Herndon Home, the elegant resident of Alonzo F. Herndon and his family. Mr. Herndon was born enslaved but rose in freedom after the Civil War to become a very successful businessman and community leader. He was the first African American millionaire in Atlanta. He began his business ventures as a barber, but built considerable wealth in real estate and as the founder of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company. His first wife, Adrienne McNeil Herndon, a professor of speech and drama at Atlanta University, designed their regal two-story home in the Beaux-Arts classical style. The Herndon Home Museum is now on the National Registry of Historic Places.
This episode was followed by Herren’s Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant that opened its doors at 84 Luckie Street in 1939 as Atlanta’s first fine dining for the general public in downtown Atlanta. In 1963 it inaugurated another moment as the first restaurant in downtown Atlanta to permit African American guests. It closed its doors as a restaurant in 1987, but the space was repurposed, and renovated in 2002 to become the Balzer Theater, home of Theatrical Outfit, the second oldest professional theater in the city of Atlanta.
Other episodes of Season 1 include:
- the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, which started in 1921 as the African American branch of the downtown Carnegie Library which was for whites. In 1994, it moved to its current location and opened as the first public research library of its kind in the South East.
- The Atlanta Daily World, home of one of the oldest African American newspapers in Atlanta. It was founded in 1928 by William Alexander Scott II and remained a family owned and operated business until 2014. It continues to operate as a multi-media resource for the city of Atlanta.
- Booker T. Washington High School opened in 1924. It is the oldest high school in the state of Georgia for African American youth, and it remained the only one in the City of Atlanta until 1947. This site was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1986.
- Friendship Baptist Church, established in 1862. The roots of this congregation, however, extend back to 1848. It is the oldest autonomous Baptist congregation in the city of Atlanta.
- South View Cemetery, established in 1886 by a group of African American leaders in the city of Atlanta with the support of a coalition of their fellow community member, both individually and through organizational groups
. It is the oldest cemetery in Atlanta for African Americans offering these families the privilege of burying their loved ones with dignity and grace.