Kathy Wells, chair of the Lynwood Park Foundation, which works to preserve the history of the Lynwood Park Community, shared her thoughts on the ordinance.
“Lynwood Park was known for its unity, strength, and independence, even in an era of legal racial segregation,” she said. “Our history is rich in struggle and triumph, all of which deserve recognition.”
She thanked Councilwoman Linley Jones, who worked closely with the Lynwood Park Foundation to “ensure that the history of our community is recognized, honored, and held in high esteem in the city of Brookhaven and DeKalb County.”
Barbara Shaw, who has lived in Lynwood Park for 62 years and is a member of the Lynwood Park Foundation, spoke to the significance of the ordinance.
“This is very heartwarming for myself because I have been waiting for this for years,” she said. “Thank you for all you have done for the city of Brookhaven and to help Lynwood Park be a historic city,” she said.”
Another representative of the Foundation, Charlene Scott Bowden, expressed her support of the ordinance. She is a fourth-generation resident of Lynwood Park, her parents attended Lynwood Park School.
“Though it’s not the same neighborhood that it used to be, the Historic Lynwood Park Recognition Ordinance will spotlight Brookhaven as the city that encompasses this illustrious history,” she said.
After some additional comments, the City Council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance. Through the ordinance, the council commits to support Lynwood Park Community and events, such as the annual Lynwood Park Community Day, the annual Martin Luther King Day Dinner, which recognizes the Lynwood Park integrators, and other historic events.
A historic marker will be placed on the exterior of Lynwood Park Recreation Center to recognize the history of Lynwood School as an important part of the history of Brookhaven. A marker inside the building will list the Lynwood Park integrators and recognize them as trailblazers. A room in the Lynwood Park Recreation Center will be available to the historic Lynwood Park Community members for meetings related to the community.
The building that is today’s Lynwood Park Recreation Center was the second school built in the neighborhood. The first school was a small wooden building, built by the community in 1942.
In 1949, the community bought a few acres at the end of Osborne Drive for the purpose of a new school. The acres were later deeded over to DeKalb County and the school was constructed. Lynwood Park School was one of several “equalization schools” across Georgia, where changes and improvements were made to schools for Black students, supposedly to make the schools equal while maintaining segregation.
However, Lynwood and other “equalization schools” did not have facilities, books or supplies that were equal. It was the dedication of Lynwood Park teachers and administration that led the students to become high achievers. In 1968, Lynwood Park School closed, and students integrated Jim Cherry, Montgomery and Huntley Hills elementary schools, and Cross Keys and Chamblee high schools.