Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Katherine Hankins

Second Advisor

Richard Milligan

Third Advisor

Taylor Shelton


In 1981, Black Atlanta residents organized an armed patrol—the Ron Carter Patrol—at Techwood Homes public housing project to defend their community against the threat of a serial killer, who had murdered over two dozen Black youth. Through archival research and in-depth, semi-structured interviews, I represent competing narratives of the patrol and highlight alternative socio-spatial imaginaries that challenge the myth of Black unity in Atlanta. Emerging from the ongoing social and political organization of residents, the existence and visibility of the patrol presented a threat to state power as the patrol challenged the “Black Mecca” imaginary. State and nonstate actors, primarily Black politicians and civic leaders, collaborated to enact counterinsurgency measures to suppress the spread of armed Black self-defense and to re-establish the state’s monopoly on violence. This case study helps expand understandings of the reproduction of racial capitalism and the imaginaries of resistance emerging from working-class Black communities.


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