Christmas wishes from the guys in Summerhill circa 1974. The boys were members of a youth group organized by Emmaus House, an Episcopal Church outpost in Atlanta's worst slum.

Christmas wishes from the guys in Summerhill circa 1974. The boys were members of a youth group organized by Emmaus House, an Episcopal Church outpost in Atlanta’s worst slum.

From Tales of Old Atlanta – The photo journalism of Boyd Lewis 1969-79.

Copyright Boyd Lewis/Atlanta History Center. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976, this image may not be reproduced in whole or in part with permission in writing from copyright owner. For information, contact Boyd Lewis. Tales of Old Atlanta is also available at:

Boyd Lewis

Boyd Lewis

New Orleans family. War baby. Family moved a lot. Secondary and college education in Memphis, TN. Just before 1967 graduation, commissioning and tour of leafy, lovely Vietnam, banged up in auto accident. Decided to go into journalism. Tennessee mountain weekly, small Mississippi daily and nearly three decades in Atlanta. Black and alternative newspapers, freelance photojournalist, public radio news and documentary producer, news writer for CNN. Married Deborah James, followed her to Los Angeles for job. Quit the dismal trade and became middle school English teacher in LA barrio school. Quite happy.

  1. Boyd Lewis

    I don’t know about these particular kids, but a while back, I showed Gene Ferguson one of my photos of a larger group of kids and asked the same question. The former youth director of Emmaus House began pointing: “She’s dead. Gang thing. He became a policeman. He’s at Reidsville for drug dealing. She’s with City Hall doing human resources. He died. So did he. This one went to Georgia State for a semester but dropped out and is a construction laborer in Cherokee County” and so it went. Summerhill tended to kill its children. Atlanta’s worst slum had no mercy. With the gentrification south and east of Turner Field, the community now has no memory of what went before. And so it goes.

  2. Cliff Green

    The neighborhood has improved over the last 35 years, and Emmaus House is still there doing its job.

  3. If I remember correctly, the boy sitting in the front holding the football is Tony Willingham. Through Emmaus House he was given the opportunity to attend an A.B.C. (A Better Chance) high school up North, and then went on to college and became a teacher.

    The bootstraps and extra tugs that Emmaus House offered did produce some success stories. Sadly, they may have been the exceptions. But it is also a matter of degree. Going to college for a semester and becoming a construction laborer or becoming a policeman might be a lot better than what their parents’ lives were like, or what their lives would have been without that support. And chances are that their offspring will do a lot better.

    After I wrote the above, I looked at the photo again, and am not so sure that is Tony. Looks more like a Eubanks. But I am happy to tell Tony’s story anyway.

  4. The kid on the bottom right is Winston Allen. He lived across Capitol Ave. from Emmaus House in the early 70s.

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