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Creating a Global Center for Peace

Learn more about the history and mission of the Rodney Cook Sr. Peace Park and the vision for its future.

The History of the Peace Park

One hundred and fifty years ago, Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood was alive with activity. Residents strolled the tree-lined streets, churches and schools dotted the landscape, and local businesses thrived. In the early twentieth century, Vine City was among the most diverse neighborhoods in Atlanta, a desirable place to live for many. At the center of it all was Atlanta’s first integrated park.

Designed by the world-renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm at the turn of the century, Vine City’s Mims Park was known for its grassy meadows, stately fountains, pedestrian paths, lovely shade trees, and 3 statues of Georgia peacemakers.

In the 1950s, the neighborhood lost its park when the land was encroached upon by an existing elementary school. Over the course of several decades, the surrounding population dwindled. The neighborhood fell into decline. Today, Vine City is one of Atlanta’s distressed communities.

The Peace Park represents a personal commitment Rodney Cook, Jr. made to his father, Rodney Cook, Sr., on his deathbed: to rebuild the 19th century Olmsted designed Mims-Cook family park for the benefit of the local community. Reclaiming land that was rendered unusable after a flood almost 2 decades ago, the park has been given new life and turned into a beautiful space that will be used by the local community and visitors from all around the world.

The new green space will provide urban farming programs, sports and youth activities, statues, monuments, and a 10,000 volume library of the C.T. Vivian and Martin Luther King, Jr. families. Two museums narrating 300 years of Georgia’s peace tradition and The Atlanta Way will showcase a legacy of peace to the entire world at a time when it is desperately needed.

We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

Martin Luther King Jr. in a letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

The Atlanta Way:

Continuing a Legacy of Peace

At the heart of Vine City is Sunset Avenue, where the homes of Senator Julian Bond, Mayor Maynard Jackson, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are located – the center of the Civil Rights Movement. Adjacent is the Rodney Cook Sr. Peace Park, which will continue the 150-year-old custom of The Atlanta Way, whereby the leaders of diverse communities worked together to fight for peace and harmony in Atlanta and Georgia.

Building a Global Network

for the Next Generation of Peace Leaders

The park will offer a platform for kindergarten through post-graduate education programs that will develop a renewed grammar and high school curriculum in basic American history as well as a new peace university. Our pilot program is currently being created in collaboration with the Gwinnett County School System and the University System of Georgia, and our white paper was written by INSEAD (the world’s #1 business school). Our program will offer a Master’s and PhD in Peace Affairs or Peace Tech, the first of its kind. Around this initiative will be the development of innovative projects and education initiatives with the following partners from around the world:

  • University System of Georgia/Georgia Gwinnett College, USA
  • Shin Dae-yong Global Peace Institute, Korea
  • INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France
  • Jeux Mondiaux de la Paix, Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, Switzerland
  • St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University, Russia
  • Soongsil University, Korea
  • World Peace Center, India

Creating peace in our world takes participation, collaboration, and commitment.

Creating peace in our world takes participation, collaboration, and commitment.

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