Elon Butts Osby

Biography

Elon Butts Osby was born in 1950 in Atlanta, GA. In the early 20th century, her family had settled in Macedonia Park, a neighborhood off of Pharr Road in Buckhead. Her parents, Pete Butts and Willie Mae Bagley, built and operated a rib shack in the community. Meanwhile, her grandfather, William Bagley, was considered the "mayor" of the neighborhood, which became known as Bagley Park. In the 1940s, Ms. Osby's parents moved to northwest Atlanta after the neighborhood was removed for the creation of a park. Ms. Osby attended Anderson Park Elementary School and Turner High School. She currently works for the City of Atlanta. In 2009, she began fighting for the preservation of Mt. Olive Cemetery, the last remnant of the Bagley Park neighborhood, after a developer purchased the property. 

Abstract of Interview

Ms. Osby discusses her family's history in Forsyth County and the racial tension that ultimately drove her family and other African Americans from the area.  She talks at length about her family's experiences living in Buckhead, including when her parents met at a New Hope AME Church homecoming, when they married at Piney Grove Church, and when they ran a rib shack in Bagley Park. She recalls a story about her brother playing in Johnsontown and encountering the "witch" that lived in the neighborhood. She talks at length about the removal of Bagley Park and where residents settled afterward. She remembers racial lines within her own segregated elementary school and recalls stories from the Civil Rights Movement she heard growing up. She concludes with talking about the preservation of Mt. Olive Cemetery and her hopes for the site in the future.  

Interview conducted by Erica Danylchak, March 31, 2012.

Read the transcript.

Video

Elon Osby describes the removal of African Americans from Forsyth County in 1912. Her family eventually settled in the Macedonia Park neighborhood in Buckhead.

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