Tillman Ward, Founder and President of Community Resources of Vine City, posed a thought-provoking question during his devotion at the January 17 Transform Westside Summit: “If Dr. King was here in 2020, what might be a comment he might make, or a question, or just a thought?”
Tillman ward delivers first Transform Westside Summit Devotion of the decade.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Ward is a self-described “serial social entrepreneur, struggling, striving to make a difference”. He led the Neighborhood Planning Unit-L which includes the Vine City community and is deeply committed to Atlanta’s Westside.
During his devotion, Ward paid homage to a number of Vine City’s hidden figures who he crowned “the foot-soldiers, heroes, and sheroes”, many of whom worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Their contributions may be less celebrated but they are still noteworthy and part of the Historic Westside’s rich history.
Sylvia Russell, Former President of AT&T Georgia in conversation with Tillman Ward.
Ward acknowledged the contributions of Dorothy Bolden, a Vine City resident who founded the Domestic Worker’s Union. The organization helped usher in a new era of higher wages and better working conditions for more than 13,000 domestic workers across ten different cities, including Atlanta. Bolden was a noteworthy activist even before the Civil Rights Movement, and worked closely with Dr. King, her then neighbor, through the height of the movement.
Dorothy Bolden passed away in 2005 in Atlanta, Ga. and left behind a lasting legacy. Ward pondered: What if Dr. King was alive today to speak about the important role Dorothy Bolden played in the restructuring of American society to be more fair and just? What if Dr. King was was here to witness how Westside community residents are helping to continue the tradition of uplifting the least among us? One would imagine Dr. King would have plenty of good things to say.
Read more about Dorothy Bolden in this 2019 New York Times article: Overlooked No More: Dorothy Bolden, Who Started a Movement for Domestic Workers.