Lauren Roberts

Editor in Chief

Martin Luther King Jr. once said he had a dream “…that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

Brotherhood is another name for community and it is a need at the core of every human being. That is precisely what the team at The Mayor’s House in Stone Mountain Village is fighting for. Stone Mountain is a city unfortunately known for its racial divide, but that will all change soon as this powerful group of young leaders takes on a city to transform it into one of brotherhood.

The first shots in the Civil War fired 150 years ago. That was the beginning of a war of bloodshed over the value of human beings, regardless of their race. Slavery was abolished as a result of this war, but 50 years after the beginning of this war, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross atop Stone Mountain. Years later, on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech about his dream of freedom in our nation and prophesied that it would come to be. That dream is now becoming a reality.

The Mayor’s House in Stone Mountain Village was built in the 1800’s and was the residence of Mayor Andrew Johnson during the time of the Civil War. Just yards away in the front of the house is a stone which was used to measure the diameter of the city and it marks the center of Stone Mountain.

Right in the backyard is the largest stone mass in the world with the largest Confederate monument carved into the mountain. This mountain draws millions of tourists all year, and yet, it is also one of the most negatively branded cities in our nation. For some, it has been difficult to forget about this confederate memorial right down the road from their houses. This divide amongst the people has negatively affected the development of the town.  

Daniel Brown, his wife Shellane and a group of his neighbors are committed to rewriting the story of this historic town. They want to turn the house into a center of community in the village. Daniel said, “My partners and I were energized and called forth by the challenge to create authentic community and connection in our historic slice of Atlanta.”

Daniel has been battling this project for two years but has recently made progress with the opening of his coffee brew bar, Gilly Brewing Co. I recently walked into this place, and I was blown away by the atmosphere of boldness and entrepreneurship. This is a house full of people who are actively pursuing a dream to see a community revived.

While we were talking with Daniel, he told us stories upon stories, and I quickly realized that we were cut from the same cloth. We both want community. We both want to empower young leaders to change the city and eventually the world. You will find that Gilly Brewing Co. is not only serving coffee but they also serve a little bit of something else on the side. They serve freedom and revival. Daniel also said he believes “…that this property and dream will become the catalyst for transformation in Stone Mountain, GA.”

They plan to turn the Mayor’s House into a collaboration of entrepreneurs. There is a church that meets there, and there will soon also be a restaurant. If you want to see the historic downtown area of Stone Mountain grow, you can support this group of influential young men and women by taking a trip to Stone Mountain Village. Stop by and have a cup of coffee at Gilly Brewing Co. As the famous freedom activist once said, “…let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!”