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"Chicago of the South"
"Convention City of Dixie Land"

An 1859 industrial journal was among the first to note nicknames for Atlanta, Georgia:[1]

An orator claimed for it the signification of "a city among the hills" while a writer has declared that it was the opposite of "rus in urbe" ("country in the city") and proclaimed it "'the city in the woods".

Since then, the city has known numerous nicknames. As of the 2010s, The ATL, and The A are the most prevalent.


Atlanta nicknamesEdit

  • Contemporary nicknames of Atlanta include, in alphabetical order:
  • Historical nicknames for the city include:
    • Gate City, Gate City of the South, or Gate City of the New South (from Reconstruction through the early 20th century)[36][37]
    • New York of the South[38] (1870s–1890s)
    • Chicago of the South (1880s–1900s): for Atlanta's "new men, new industries, new buildings, and new spirit" - though it was often remarked that the nickname was not quite accurate in terms of the size of Atlanta vs. the much larger Chicago[39][40][41]
    • The City Too Busy to Hate[42][43] (during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights struggle)
    • Convention City of Dixie (Land) (1910s–1920s)[44][45]
    • Dogwood City[27]

Nicknames of other Atlanta areasEdit

The Watermelon 500Edit

"The Watermelon 500" is trucker CB slang for the Interstate 285 loop around Atlanta.


SWATS, The S.W.A.T.S. or S.W.A.T.S. ("Southwest Atlanta, too strong")[46][47] is, in street, hip-hop, or local contexts, Southwest Atlanta, plus territory extending into the adjacent cities of College Park and East Point.[citation needed] The term "SWATS" came into vogue around 1996[citation needed] and was initially made popular by LaFace Records groups OutKast and Goodie Mob.[48][49] This was the same time that "ATL" became popular as a nickname for Atlanta as a whole.[50]

SWATS in Lyrics

The OutKast song "Peaches (Intro)" states: "For ... the SWATS ... Cause it ain't nuttin but King Shit, all day, err'day".[48] Another Outkast song, "Ova da Wudz" states "put the SWATS, SWATS on your car."

Goodie Mob song "I Refuse Limitation" states "SWATS G.A. by way of Cascade Heights", while their song "Goodie Bag" states "Cause in da SWAT's red hots don't drip or bleed", and in "All A's", Cee Lo Green's chorus states "But don't you dare ride through the SWATS without, at least 30 shots".[49]

Erick Sermon rapped "I'm in New York now but I represent the SWATS and A-Town.", in his song "Future Thug" from his sixth solo album 'Chilltown, New York' in 2004.

Media and artists named after SWATS

S.W.A.T.S. is the name of a 2010 web television series by Golden Street Entertainment taking place in Southwest Atlanta.[47]

S.W.A.T.S. is the name of a song by rap group 9.17 on the album Southern Empire released by Motown in 2001.[51]

Young Ju King of da SWATS is an artist featured on ReverbNation.[52]

Also referenced as location of "Gina's Beauty Shop" in the movie with Queen Latifah.

Nawf AtlantaEdit

Nawf Atlanta, or Nawfside is, a term popularized by rap trio Migos in reference to their place of origin Gwinnett County, which is located North of the City of Atlanta proper.[53]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bow, James Dunwoody Brownson De; Burwell, William MacCreary (15 October 2017). "DeBow's Review". J.D.B. De Bow. Retrieved 15 October 2017 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Only in the A". Retrieved October 15, 2017.[dead link]
  3. ^ "The Indispensable A". July 23, 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Aboutn". August 19, 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Because we're the only city easily identified by just one letter", Creative Loafing, November 23, 2011
  6. ^ "Love it or loathe it, the city's nickname is accurate for the summer". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. June 16, 2008. p. C1.
  7. ^ U.S. City Monikers, Tagline Guru website, accessed January 5, 2008
  8. ^ "A CHAMPION FOR ATLANTA: Maynard Jackson: 'Black mecca' burgeoned under leader", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 29, 2003.
  9. ^ "the city that calls itself America's ' Black Mecca'"; in William Booth, "Atlanta Is Less Than Festive on Eve of Another 'Freaknik'", Washington Post, April 18, 1996.
  10. ^ "'The Black Mecca' leads the nation in numbers of African American millionaires; at the same time, it leads the nation in the percentage of its children in poverty"; in Robert D. Bullard, The Black Metropolis in the Twenty-first Century: Race, Power, and Politics, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, p. 151.
  11. ^ "the city that earned a national reputation as America's 'black mecca'"; in David J. Dent, In Search of Black America: Discovering the African-American Dream, Free Press, 2001.
  12. ^ "the cornerstone upon which today's 'Black Mecca' was built"; in William Jelani Cobb, "The New South's Capital Likes to Contradict Itself", Washington Post, July 13, 2008.
  13. ^ "And, they said, don't forget Atlanta's reputation as a black mecca"; in "Georgia second in nation for black-owned businesses", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 5, 2010.
  14. ^ "Atlanta is New Mecca for Blacks", Ebony, September 1997.
  15. ^ "Atlanta's allure as the black mecca"; in "Atlanta contest shows battered black electorate", Associated Press article on MSNBC, December 4, 2009.
  16. ^ " the Southern capital regarded as the nation's black mecca"; in Emin Haines, "Race, attacks expected in Atlanta mayor runoff", Marietta Daily Journal, November 5, 2009.
  17. ^ "Is Atlanta the new black mecca?" Ebony, March 2002.
  18. ^ "Atlanta, black mecca of the South", Ebony, August 1971.
  19. ^ Terry Williams, "Money talks: Atlanta has the highest percentage of middle-class blacks of any city in the nation", Atlanta magazine, March 2003.
  20. ^ “Atlanta is a city that is known as the black mecca"; in "Upcoming city elections will show how Atlanta is undergoing profound changes", Saporta Report, October 2009.
  21. ^ "That stockpile of black brain power has made Atlanta the nation's mecca for blacks, especially buppies looking for Afro-American affluence and political clout"; in "Bond vs. Lewis - it's Atlanta's loss that only one of the two can win", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 16, 1986.
  22. ^ "Is it this that has made Atlanta the mecca of the black middle class?"; in Henry Louis Gates, America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues with African Americans, Grand Central Publishing, 2007.
  23. ^ "Atlanta had always been a black mecca and continues to be one;, in Kim Severson, "Stars Flock to Atlanta, Reshaping a Center of Black Culture", New York Times, November 26, 2011.
  24. ^ Nathan McCall, "Atlanta: The City of the Next Generation", Black Enterprise, May 1987.
  25. ^ EndPlay (July 22, 2011). "Atlanta May No Longer Be 'The City In A Forest'". WSB-TV. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  26. ^ Snyder, Karen K. (2007), Frommer's Atlanta, page 3
  27. ^ a b "The Democrats Atlanta: A City of Changing Slogans", Time, July 25, 1988
  28. ^ ""Could 'Empire City of the South' play host to 2024 summer games", s". Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  29. ^ McManus, John (January 11, 2016). "Taylor Morrison, Acadia Deal: What it Means". Builder. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  30. ^ "Florida city America's sex capital?". Fort Myers, Florida: WBBH. July 18, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  31. ^ "How Atlanta became the Hollywood of the South". The Washington Times. August 29, 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  32. ^ King, Michael (3 July 2018). "Atlanta named 'Running City USA' because of AJC Peachtree Road Race". WXIA-TV. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  33. ^ Harriot, Michael (February 19, 2019). "Atlanta Is the Real Wakanda". The Root. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  34. ^ Stafford, Leon (February 18, 2018). "'Black Panther': Five things to know about the movie's ties to metro Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  35. ^ Breihan, Tom (January 18, 2019). "Watch Killer Mike Talk Trigger Warning, Starting His Own Religion, & Why Atlanta Is Wakanda On Colbert". Stereogum. Retrieved April 7, 2019. I'm a black kid that grew up in Atlanta. In Atlanta, everything is possible for black kids, right? So I never really had a box to keep me in my imagination… …because Atlanta is Wakanda, for real.
  36. ^ "Our Quiz Column", Sunny South, p.5
  37. ^ Rebecca Burns (2009), Rage in the Gate City: The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, University of Georgia Press, ISBN 0-8203-3307-7.
  38. ^ Sources documented on Barry Popik's Big Apple blog:
    • 5 October 1872, Appletons' Journal of Literature, Science and Art, pg. 376: "Marvellous tales are told of this antique period in the history of the present 'New York of the South,' concerning acres upon acres of land, near the heart of the city, selling for fifty cents per acre, but which now are worth a snug little fortune. Such was Atlanta less than three decades ago."
    • 17 June 1879, Daily Constitution (Atlanta, GA), pg. 4: "...the future New York of the south,France of Britain- as it was predicted at the opening of the Port Royal railroad in 1873."
    • The Mother Of Continental Parliaments
    • 6 July 1881, The New York Times, pg. 4: "The New-Orleans Democrat says that that city is the New-York of the South, and yet has no public library."
    • 29 January 1884, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "The New York of the South. From the New York Tribune: THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION draws a sad picture of its environment. "Within one hundred yards of the officer," is its plaintive mean, "wagons are literally up to the hub in mud. Part of Ellis street, in a quarter mile of the depot, is literally impassable." Assuming that our contemporary's account of these wagons and this streets is literally correct, it looks as if Atlanta was likely to be known as the New York of the south."
    • 12 November 1891, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "Atlanta is a grand city. It is the New York of the south, and henceforth it can get the finest attractions produced, for its patronage is sufficient to make the very best and most expensive show a financial success."
    • 21 October 1892, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 5: "Work will cease altogether and the New York of the south will pay honor to the brave navigator, who in spite of the hardships he had to endure, pointed out a new land to the ignorant people of the time."
    • 19 January 1895, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "Cedartown Standard: Atlanta aspires to be the New York of the south - in fact, she is, and so it is perfectly natural that she should follow New York in having the big police scandal and investigation that is now on hand
  39. ^ Underwriters, National Association of Life (15 October 1893). "Proceedings of the Annual Convention". Retrieved 15 October 2017 – via Google Books.
  40. ^ Jr, William J. Cooper; Terrill, Thomas E. (16 January 2009). "The American South: A History". Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Retrieved 15 October 2017 – via Google Books.
  41. ^ Still, Bayrd (15 October 1974). "Urban America: a history with documents". Little, Brown. Retrieved 15 October 2017 – via Google Books.
  42. ^ History Archived 2011-12-27 at the Wayback Machine, on City of Atlanta website
  43. ^ Ron French, Atlanta: Black-white gap shrinks, The Detroit News, January 28, 2002
  44. ^ "Whatever Happened to Georgia's Downtown Hotels?", Georgia History Today
  45. ^ International, Rotary (1 June 1916). "The Rotarian". Rotary International. Retrieved 15 October 2017 – via Google Books.
  46. ^ "Revolution Rock: Atlanta's Goodie Mob fight for truth, justice, but not necessarily the American Way", Vibe, June-July 1998
  47. ^ a b "SWATSATLTV". Retrieved October 15, 2017 – via YouTube.
  48. ^ a b "Lyrics Mania". Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  49. ^ a b "The Original Hip-Hop (Rap) Lyrics Archive". Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  50. ^ Mickey Hess, Hip Hop in America: East Coast and West Coast
  51. ^ "Southern Empire". April 24, 2001. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  52. ^ "Young Ju Prince of da SWATS" on ReverbNation
  53. ^ "How Migos Claimed Atlanta's Northside For The Trap". 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2018-03-31.