- In 1949, Leila Williams opened an eatery called Leila Dinette
- The diner became popular and served as a venue for the black community in Atlanta
- Williams' eatery served prominent personalities including Dr Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond and US Congressman, John Lewis
At 107, owner of Atanta’s historic Leila Dinette, Leila Williams has lived many monumental periods including World War II, assassinations and notable elections.
Williams and her late husband Charlie opened the eatery in the late 1940s.
Becauseofthemwecan.com writes that, for over 40 years, people from all over flocked to Southwest Atlanta to taste her good food but more importantly, to be in the good community.
Briefly.co.za learnt that at a time when segregation was still rife and there were not many places people could go, Leila created a space where blacks could be served with dignity.
The dinette was also a place where civil rights leaders came to ''strategise and spend quality time', Charlotte Webb, Leila Williams' god-daughter is quoted to have told NBC News.
Leila Williams' eatery hosted the black community with renowned names such as Dr Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Julian Bond, Congressman John Lewis, and a host of other movement leaders visiting the place.
The diner closed in the early 1990s, staying vacant over a decade before being bought and renovated by Keitra Bates.
It has now been transformed into a shared kitchen called Marddy’s, where chefs of colour can come to make their food to sell to their customers.
While the dinette was known for its amazing food, people remember Williams for her caring nature and generosity.
Williams celebrated her 107th birthday among family and friends at the Glenwood Health & Rehab Center in Decatur, Georgia. She received more than 10k birthday wishes and cards.
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