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East Point doesn't have public pools -- this new installation will explain why

The multimedia exhibition runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day exploring what happened to the city's Jim Crow-era swimming pools.
Credit: Win Nondakowit - stock.adobe.com
Swimming pool

EAST POINT, Ga. — A new installation in East Point will explain the history of why public pools don't exist in the city.

Urban designer and historian Hannah Palmer presents the legacy of public swimming with two memorials at two pools in East Point "that became a battleground over integration and were eventually abandoned, leaving the city without a pool to this day," a news release from Flux Projects said. The organization produces temporary public art projects and is hosting the installation.

"What happened to the pools in my neighborhood was part of a pattern across the nation, a sad but common history," Palmer said. "I want to present this as a guide to what could be possible if we shared an understanding of what happened to these public spaces."

Palmer calls her project Ghost Pools. It's an attempt to "set the historical record straight, creating a shared understanding of what happened to East Point's Jim Crow-era swimming pools." 

One of the two pools was restricted to white residents and is now under the East Point Historical Society site. The other was built for East Point's segregated Black neighborhood and is now an overflow parking lot for the John D. Milner Athletic Complex. Both sites are now owned by the city and are working with Flux Projects to present Palmer's vision.  

"This is a horrible part of our history that will now be told truthfully," Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham said in a prepared statement. "I applaud Hannah Palmer and her team for creating this impactful and engaging initiative to tell the full picture of East Point's past with the hopes that we will right wrongs and continue to embrace, celebrate and gain strength from our diversity moving forward."

Palmer's Ghost Pools will explore how segregated pools were funded, designed, sited, defunded and abandoned. She plans to collaborate with visual, sound, and performance artists to make the former sites of the pools an inviting space for the community. 

The multimedia exhibition runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

With Ghost Pools, Flux Projects continues its multi-year series FLOW, which explores Atlanta's history with water and how it has shaped the city. People can learn more about Flux Projects on its website.

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