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Who Thought It Was A Good Idea To Build A Water Slide At Lake Lanier?

by Staff

This past Wednesday, it was announced that as part of an expansion for Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, there will be a ‘water slide coaster’ constructed as part of the new Fins Up Water Park opening this summer.

From WSB-TV Atlanta:

The water park held a ceremony Wednesday to welcome breaking ground on the new ride. Officials announced they “got to sign some steel” on the Apocalypso, which will be the centerpiece of a tower with four new slides.

“This monumental investment marks the most significant expansion of Margaritaville at Lanier Islands in decades, adding Georgia’s largest waterslide complex to the water park, boasting an impressive 15 slides in total in 2024,” park officials wrote.

The ride will have the largest “blasterango drop” in the U.S., which sends up and downhill at an average speed of 30 mph.

(deep, heavy, Negro spiritual sigh)

There are a few rules that we Black people tend to live by for our survival, and for our peace of mind. Don’t bring no damn Ouija boards in the house. Don’t give Shaun King (a.k.a. Talcum X, Scamuel L. Jackson, Whack Panther, Snow J. Simpson, and too many other nicknames to list here) any of your money. (Seriously, people, just don’t do it.) Don’t say ‘Candyman’ in the mirror five times. Don’t trust or talk to the cops for any reason. Don’t ever use the good Pyrex when giving food to somebody. And do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, go anywhere in or near Lake Lanier.

Now I’m sure both of you who are reading this are probably saying, “What’s the big deal? Why are you talking about Lake Lanier like it’s something out of a horror movie?” Because it is something out of a horror movie.

Lake Lanier was constructed over 38,000 acres of what used to be a town in Georgia called Oscarville. That town, which was largely populated by Black people, no longer exists, and numerous violent incidents aimed in their direction (the execution of three Black teenagers, who were blamed for the murder and sexual assault of a white woman; a Black preacher who was taken into custody and horse-whipped after being accused of attempting to sexually assault a white woman; a group of white vigilantes called the Night Riders who would attack and terrify Black people while riding on horseback at night as an attempt to make them evacuate Forsyth County, resulting in many Black residents selling their land and their homes at a fraction of what they were worth to avoid being killed) resulted in Black people evacuating Oscarville to find other towns they could hopefully call home. When construction for the Buford Dam was approved in 1947, it resulted in the creation of Lake Lanier, whose waters flooded what was left of Oscarville several years later, including its houses, storefronts, and cemeteries, none of which were demolished or relocated.

The history of how Lake Lanier was constructed is troubling and disturbing enough by itself. But with every recent news story that has ‘Lake Lanier’ as part of its headline, a lot of people, especially those who are part of Black Twitter, take those new stories as reminders of why Lake Lanier is to be avoided at all f—king costs. On Christmas Day in 1964, a car was driving over a bridge in Forsyth County, only to end up losing control, and going off of the bridge to crash into the lake below, which resulted in the deaths of five adults and two children who were inside of the car. In 2012, Kile Glover, the 11-year-old son of Tameka Foster — who was married to R&B singer Usher from 2007 to 2009 — was killed at Lake Lanier when his inner tube that was being pulled by a pontoon boat was struck by a speeding Jet Ski. In 2023, the body of 27-year-old Leonardo Martinez was found and recovered in Lake Lanier, after the man disappeared while swimming near Van Pugh Park just a few days earlier. A week before that, the body of 61-year-old Tracey Stewart was found in Lake Lanier after he had drowned while swimming in the lake from his boat. That same year, 24-year-old Thomas Miner was killed when he jumped off a dock into Lake Lanier and was somehow electrocuted once he landed in the water. And that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stories about people who have perished in the waters of Lake Lanier.

When the news became public about a water slide being constructed at Lake Lanier, Black Twitter didn’t hesitate to crack a lot of jokes about what a horrible f-cking decision this was, while also reiterating why this was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea: Because Lake Lanier is practically a burial ground where Black people had their lives ended and ruined at the hands of white people. Nothing good has happened at that lake ever since. Even the FX series Atlanta has touched upon how terrifying Lake Lanier is for Black people and how it is very likely haunted by the ghosts of its previous residents in the Season 3 premiere, “Three Slaps.”

So if you want to spend your money, and possibly final moments of life, at this water slide coaster when it opens at Lake Lanier this summer, you obviously have every right to do so. Just don’t expect to see too many Black people accompanying you, as most of them are likely to be enjoying their summer at any other location that isn’t Lake Lanier.

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