Wednesday, January 30, 2013

C  I  T  Y    O  F    A  T  L  A  N  T  A


ATLANTA – Atlanta lost a civic titan Sunday night when Rodney Mims Cook, Sr. passed away at the age of 88.  Cook, whose family has a long history of civic and political engagement at the state and local level, served as both a city alderman and as a member of the Georgia General Assembly.

As a state legislator, Cook took the lead in the fight for civil rights.  In 1962 he introduced a resolution calling for the demolition of the concrete barrier in southwest Atlanta known as the “Peyton Wall.”  He challenged myriad discriminatory policies in place on the state and local levels.  Due to his efforts, Cook faced threats and intimidation from white supremacist groups including  threats to bomb his home and kidnap his children.

When Julian Bond, one of eight African-Americans elected to the state House of Representatives in 1965, was denied his seat, , Cook was one of five white representatives who voted to seat Bond.  It ultimately took a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to order the Georgia General Assembly to seat Representative Bond.

“My family is forever grateful for Mr. Cook’s bravery and righteous fervor in defense of my father during a very frightening and difficult time,” said Councilmember Michael Julian Bond. “He possessed a type of courage that cannot be taught but from which much can be learned. This city is a better place because of Mr. Cook’s effort – and can be made even greater if we follow his example.”

Throughout his career, Cook, a decorated WW II veteran, advocated for the City of Atlanta by lobbying state and federal authorities for proper appropriations to allow for the region’s rapid growth throughout the 1960s and 70s.

His son, Rodney Mims Cook, Jr. is the leading force behind the planned Mims Park in Vine City, which gained City Council approval last year.  Cook is survived by his wife, Lane, and their two daughters, Jody and Laura Cook, a son, Rodney Mims Cook, Jr., and three grandchildren.