“East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story” examines a public housing project opened by the Atlanta Housing Authority in 1970 and demolished a generation later.

The documentary by Sarah Burns and David McMahon (“The Central Park Five,” “Jackie Robinson”) and executive produced by Ken Burns premieres Tuesday, March 24, at 8 p.m. on WQLN PBS.

A photography exhibit inspired by the film features original photographs by students of Erie’s Inner-City Neighborhood Art House, on view through March at Ember+Forge, 401 State St., Erie.

Collaborative efforts by WQLN and local partners have made this exhibit possible: Ember+Forge; Northwestern Pennsylvania Artists Association, Erie Arts & Culture, CHROMA Guild, The Publix Voice; Inner-City Neighborhood Art House and First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant.

About the film:

In October of 1970, the 650-unit Atlanta Housing Authority opened a public housing community on the edge of Atlanta called East Lake Meadows. Over the next 25 years, many thousands of low-income Atlantans, mostly African American, would call it home.

Residents moved in for hundreds of different reasons and created strong bonds despite the many challenges they faced. But as public housing in America became stigmatized and abandoned, and a crack wave swept through the neighborhood, East Lake Meadows became nearly uninhabitable. In the mid-1990s, Atlanta bulldozed the housing project to make way for new mixed-income housing, as government and philanthropic funds poured into the area in an effort to create a thriving community.

Through the stories of former residents, “East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story” gives voice to some of the most marginalized people in our society and raises critical questions about how we, as a nation, have created concentrated poverty and limited housing opportunities for African Americans, and what can be done to address it.

“East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story” was funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers.

About WQLN:

WQLN PBS NPR serves to stimulate, enrich, educate, and entertain the public through communications. WQLN TV 54 is the Erie region’s prime connection to PBS and much more. WQLN-TV 54.1 is the Erie area's only PBS affiliate, featuring safe children's programming every day; PBS Primetime programming every Sunday through Friday evening; British drama and mystery on Saturday nights; and How-To programming Saturday afternoons. WQLN-TV 54.2 is the Create channel. Create is a channel that showcases the best of how-to and do-it-yourself programs on public television. WQLN-TV 54.3 is the World channel, featuring public television's top documentary, public affairs, and nonfiction programming. And the new WQLN-TV 54.4 is our PBS Kids 24/7 channel.

WQLN Radio 91.3 FM is the region's news, classics & jazz public radio station, affiliated with National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and American Public Media, and airs more original hours of programming every week than any other radio station in the Erie market. 

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