Councilmember C. T. Martin Succumbs at Age 84
April 5, 1937 – May 8, 2021
By Hal Lamar
On a sunny but chilly February afternoon in 2017, 10th district Councilmember Clarence “C. T.” Martin joined residents of southwest Atlanta in announcing their attempt to stop construction of a Family Dollar store at the corner of Benjamin E. Mays Drive and Fairburn Road right across the street from the former Southwest Community Hospital. “When I looked up and saw the building which once housed Holy Family (original name of Southwest Community) and remember the attempt by Family Dollar to build on the site, I said this cannot happen because doctors who were in that hospital made a commitment to be part of this community and to make sure it stayed well.”
The project Martin commenced included a bus trip to Family Dollar’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina to bring their grievances to the feet of the store’s decision. Their efforts ultimately moved the Atlanta City Council with backing from then Mayor Kasim Reid to approve $1.8 millon to buy the disputed property and build, in lieu, a park honoring physicians, workers and staff of Southwest Community.
The Doctors Memorial Plaza was named C. T. Martin Plaza at ribbon cutting ceremonies November 22 of the same year. It was announced by Reid.
Sadly, residents who stood behind Martin, a soft-spoken man but known by many colleagues and friends as a “fierce voice for the voiceless” will now memorialize their representative of 26 years on Saturday May 15 at the Natatorium on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Atlanta, named in his honor. In an official statement, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, “Councilmember C. T. Martin was a mentor and a friend. He was my seat mate for eight years on City Council and his lessons of leadership remain with me today. He was a fierce voice for the voiceless and above all else, placed the needs of our communities first. While his physical presence will be missed, his legacy of activism and fight for equity will impact our city for generations to come.”
Martin was a 1956 graduate of Booker T Washington High School and received his college degree from Shaw University of Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. He also obtained a master degree in social work from Atlanta University. In 2017, Martin gave up his seat on Council to run for Council President. He finished third to first place finisher and current Council President Felicia Moore. She has announced her campaign for Atlanta Mayor this year.
Among Martin’s numerous appointments and affiliations, Martin was also a Free and Accepted Prince Hall Mason, member of Gate City Lodge No. 42.
In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to City of Atlanta, Memo: C. T. Martin / Adamsville Trust Account.
For more information, contact Atlanta Councilmember Andrea Boone at ABoone@AtlantaGA.gov .
Final arrangements are being provided by Willie A. Watkins Mortuary of Atlanta.
Last updated on May 18, 2021