Friday, September 10, 2010

Peggy Harper, tireless community activist and Mechanicsville resident, has died

Posted By on Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 6:02 PM

M.M. "Peggy" Harper, a longtime community activist who served on what seemed like every board possible during her more than 30 years living in Atlanta, died earlier this week.

Sources tell CL Harper was in declining health yet remained active in her community activism. Efforts to reach a family member were unsuccessful.

According to a bio (PDF) attached to one of the Harper's many nominations to a city board, the Florida native had a diverse career that including everything from helping build MARTA's east-west line to managing projects in the academic and corporate worlds. In 1989 she participated in Agnes Scott College's Return-To-College program and graduated with a degree in Economics.

But it's safe to say Harper will perhaps best be known for her community service.

Among the numerous organizations the second-generation community activist has helped or served over the years include: Neighborhood Planning Unit V, where she served at least two terms as president; the Mechanicsville Civic Association; the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board; Atlanta City Council´s Gentrification Task Force and many, many others.

More recently she sat on the Atlanta License Review Board and served on the board of the Atlanta Coordinating Responsible Authority, or ACORA, a nonprofit created to manage nearly $53 million in leftover Empowerment Zone funding. (ACORA faced criticism in June 2009 when news broke that it'd only doled out $7.5 million over the course of six years.)

A 2007 state resolution honoring Harper's activism referred to her as a "person of magnanimous strengths with an unimpeachable reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness, and kindness."

"Peggy Harper was a tenacious community advocate, especially for Atlanta's most under-served neighborhoods,” said Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall. “Her failing health in the past few years seemed only to embolden her. Every breath was precious to Peggy, and she used her voice to speak truth to power right to the end."

Said Councilman C.T. Martin: “She will be dearly missed. Peggy Harper was a grassroots person par excellence. She was a fantastic researcher as well. I only hoped that she had mentored someone who can someday display the same skills she possessed.”

Funeral arrangements, we're told, are still pending. We'll update when we receive more information.

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