History of the Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League
The Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League (RCIL) was organized in 1952 under a program sponsored by the Atlanta University School of Social Work and the Atlanta Urban League. It was formed at a time when the city was still segregated and voting rights were denied to African-Americans. The main objective of the League was to involve the community in the political and voting process.
The first goal of the League was to get all the residents registered to vote, and the second was to get youth to participate in character-building activities. Early league activities in the neighborhood included: 1) motivating interest in public issues, 2) sponsoring programs to enlighten the residents, 3) increasing voter registration and 4) petitioning the Atlanta Board of Education to construct an elementary school in the community. As an outcome of 4), property was purchased and the I.P. Reynolds School was constructed and opened in 1958. This was a great boost to the neighborhood because it served to curtail school dropout and as a neighborhood center for functions.
After a period of inactivity, the League was reorganized as the Reynoldstown Civic Improvement League and chartered in June 1974 under the leadership of Mrs. Mattie Griffin. Activities during this period included installation of streetlights for added security, a traffic light installed at Moreland Avenue and Wylie Street, securing MARTA bus services to the neighborhood crosswalks and safety zones placed at streets leading to I.P. Reynolds School, and petitioning for improved police protection.
Later, under the leadership of Mr. Young Hughley Sr., the League secured funds to build a neighborhood park and recreation center, sought housing for community functions, operated a “thrift store,” sponsored the Reynoldstown Community Festival, published a neighborhood newsletter, and sponsored a clean up campaign. His son, Young Hughley, Jr., went on to helm the nonprofit Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation (RRC) and ran it until 2011.
Other past presidents of RCIL were Mrs. Corrine E. Lang (after whom Lang Carson Center is named), Mr. James R. Hightower and Mr. Lewis Holmes Sr. Other important RCIL achievements included lobbying to curtail a Georgia DOT toll road which would have been built through Reynoldstown, leveling many of its homes and destroying the neighborhood; filing suit against MARTA to curtail widening of streets and destroying several houses; lobbying for the Reynoldstown MARTA station; and, as an ongoing process, working with the CSX. Railroad project to monitor the purchase of property for this project. The RCIL continues to work tirelessly to preserve and improve Reynoldstown for its residents.