PBS’s East Lake Meadows Raises Critical Questions on Race, Poverty

Last night, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) aired its new documentary, East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story. In 1970, the Atlanta Housing Authority opened a public housing community on the edge of the city called East Lake Meadows. Over the next 25 years, many thousands of low-income Atlantans, mostly African American, would call it home. As public housing in America became increasingly stigmatized and abandoned, East Lake Meadows became nearly uninhabitable. In the mid-1990s, Atlanta bulldozed East Lake Meadows to make way for new mixed-income housing, as government and philanthropic funds poured into the area in an effort to create a thriving community. Stories from residents reveal hardship and resilience, and raise critical questions about race, poverty and who is deserving of public assistance.