07/01/2012 06:42 am ET Updated Jul 06, 2012

Black Voices Atlanta Spotlight: Actress Jasmine Guy Offers A Tour Of The City's Southwest Side

A sprawling metropolis, Atlanta is made up of different communities that each have their own distinctive personalities. From the high-octane energy of Mid-town, to the glitz and glamour of Buckhead to the staid and conservative Cobb County, the city offers neighborhoods that can fit every lifestyle. As seen through the eyes of actress Jasmine Guy, here's what the city's southwest side has to offer.

For Guy southwest Atlanta occupies a very special place in her heart. The actress, who is best known as “Whitley” on the popular TV sitcom “A Different World,” grew up there attending dance classes at Spelman College and summer camp at the Southwest Family YMCA.

Known to locals simply as SWATS, the urban, tree lined neighborhood has long been the center of black Atlanta’s political and cultural life. Anchored by the 4 nearby colleges--Morehouse, Spelman, Clark-Atlanta and Morris Brown--that together make up the Atlanta University Center, the area’s residents have a lot of pride about the role that their businesses and institutions played in the Civil Rights Movement. Once home to the city’s first black mayor, the late Maynard Jackson Jr., southwest Atlanta remains home turf to many of the city’s African American old guard, counting among its residents former Mayors Andrew Young and Shirley Franklin; Civil Rights icons, Joseph Lowery and John Lewis and baseball legend Hank Aaron, among others.

“The thing I love about Southwest Atlanta is warm feeling that I get whenever I visit," Guy told The Huffington Post. "It was a wonderful and special place to grow up.”