The Obama campaign will drop anchor in a struggling Atlanta district steeped in African American history and infused with college vigor from a nearby university, reaching at once two groups on which the reelect effort will rely heavily in the coming presidential contest.

Campaign aides to the president have leased space on the corner of Auburn and Piedmont Avenues in Atlanta, abutting the office of Democratic Rep. John Lewis and Georgia State University. The Atlanta Magazine has the news:

“With its rich history and bright future, it’s no surprise that the President choose Auburn Avenue as home for his campaign headquarters.  We’re thrilled he selected Renaissance Walk,” says Gene Kansas who, along with Michael Dinerman, represented landlord Cohen & Associates in the lease transaction.  Cohen, based in LA, acquired Renaissance Walk this January.

You can’t ignore the symbolic weight of the country’s first black president setting up shop at a legendary street address; MLK’s birth home, the SCLC headquarters, and legendary Big Bethel, Wheat Street, and Ebenezer Baptist churches are all on Auburn Avenue. Dubbed “the richest Negro street in the world” by Fortune magazine in the 1950s, Auburn Avenue was the center of African-American business and culture in Atlanta for decades, and remains one of Atlanta’s top tourism draws.

Much was made in 2008 of an alleged push by the Democrat to topple GOP dominance in Georgia through aggressive courting of African Americans, but the effort largely fizzled when resource allocation trumped the grand, if hugely unlikely, possibility.

– James Richardson