The founder and president of the National Monuments Foundation, Rodney Mims Cook Jr., will visit Wofford College at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 for a discussion titled “The Atlanta Way Can Lead Us Back to Reconciliation: 300 Years of Georgia Peacemakers.” It will take place in Leonard Auditorium, and it is free and open to the public.
The discussion will center around the multi-year campaign to build Rodney Cook Sr. Peace Park, which serves as an urban greenspace and innovative tool for watershed management in Vine City, a historically Black neighborhood in Atlanta. The park also is an arts memorial to Georgia’s peacemakers and people who worked toward racial reconciliation.
“The Rodney Cook Sr. Peace Park is an impressive, creative example of how cities can create spaces to honor the past, encourage dialogue and community, and provide vital infrastructure,” says Dr. Dwain Pruitt, Wofford’s chief equity officer. “Wofford is fortunate to welcome an architect, designer and historic preservationist practitioner of his national and international experience and renown.”
“The Atlanta Way” is the process that civil rights activists and white business leaders followed to negotiate advances in race relations while maintaining Atlanta’s image as a business-friendly city. Rodney Cook Sr. was an Atlanta alderman and a state representative during the 1960s who supported urban renewal and Civil Rights Movement efforts.
Cook is a designer and developer. At age 15, he initiated a campaign to save Atlanta’s Fox Theatre and received the National Trust for Historic Preservation Prize.
The National Monuments Foundation oversaw the design and construction of the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta, which received a 2006 Palladio Award for best design of a public space in the United States. Cook is a founding trustee of The Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Architecture and organized the design and construction of the Princes’ Olympic Games Monument in Atlanta with others. He also was involved with designing a memorial library in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Presidents John and John Quincy Adams and their wives. He served as the co-designer for the National Civic Art Society Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington won a 2011 commendation prize, which led to an opportunity to testify before Congress.
Cook has served as a keynote speaker at many conferences around the world and was appointed to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts by President Donald Trump.