Exploring Atlanta, the cradle of civil rights

ATLANTA — On the nook of Downtown Atlanta sits a treasure trove of information – the Auburn Avenue Analysis Library on African American Tradition and Historical past is dwelling to tales and tales of the mighty previous of Black historical past in Atlanta.

“It is a repository of not solely the Black historical past of Atlanta and the Black historical past of Georgia, however Black historical past nationwide,” Georgia State College professor and writer Dr. Maurice Hobson stated.

Hobson wrote “The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class within the Making of Fashionable Atlanta” and has spent numerous hours there finding out the previous and its affect on immediately.

He stated the historical past goes way back to Common William Sherman’s burning of Atlanta. Hobson stated newly freed enslaved individuals established themselves within the metropolis following that pivotal occasion. 

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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


Together with white missionaries, these now free individuals laid the groundwork for Atlanta to grow to be an academic capitol for Black individuals by means of a number of traditionally Black faculties and universities.

“This grew to become a spot the place freedmen might come and get an training,” Hobson stated. “What training meant, is that’s that they may create their very own contracts, they may function in their very own finest pursuits.”

He stated this, in flip, helped result in the Candy Auburn District, a Black enterprise thoroughfare, which additional superior the progress of Black individuals in Atlanta.

“We’ve got Black training, we now have Black economics, the third facet of that was the rise of Black empowerment in electoral politics,” Hobson stated. 

Full interview with Dr. Bernice King

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Following the federal courtroom case of King v. Chapman, Hobson stated all white voting primaries in Georgia, which blocked Black voters from collaborating within the preliminary number of candidates, have been banned. That opened the door for a whole lot of hundreds of Black voters in Georgia.

“In fact, they’re concentrated right here in Atlanta, Georgia,” Hobson stated of these newly empowered Black voters. “So, when John Wesley Dobbs and Austin T. Walden discovered the Atlanta Negro Voters League, what it does is any politician or somebody looking for workplace who’s statewide, they’ve to return to Atlanta and courtroom the Black vote.”

As extra Black individuals started to make beneficial properties, shaping and being elected to political workplace, it gave them one other avenue to rework their lives and communities.

Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a civil rights chief herself, stated Black leaders in Atlanta would then steadily work with enterprise leaders and different individuals of affect to make change.

With traditionally Black establishments of upper training, Black companies like Atlanta Life Insurance coverage and Residents Belief Financial institution, which each nonetheless exist immediately, the religion neighborhood and scores of Black entrepreneurs, King stated the legacy of that work many years in the past nonetheless lives immediately.

“We’ve got been a metropolis that actually was too busy to hate and didn’t let something like hatred and racism stand in the best way of rising to an event,” King stated. 

(The article continues under this picture.)  

Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


Elizabeth Omilami, daughter of civil rights activist Hosea Williams and CEO of Hosea Helps, factors to that work brokering offers as a part of Atlanta’s more moderen Black historical past legacy as properly.

“Folks say Atlanta is the cradle of civil rights, and it is in line with the way you have a look at it since you by no means needed to have a march or something violent or something like that in Atlanta,” Omilami stated. “That they had a system the place they might negotiate, go within the again room, make the deal, and issues would fairly occur that approach.”

She stated whereas these efforts labored and may nonetheless present a blueprint for immediately, there’s nonetheless work to be finished, particularly for individuals who have been left behind on a humanitarian stage, a message for future change-makers, younger and previous.

“Do not search for anyone else,” Omilami stated. “You be that chief and you can also make a distinction.”


Atlanta’s Black leaders forge change by means of collaboration | A have a look at historical past

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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


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Credit score: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A line of African American voters, over two blocks lengthy, await their likelihood to get to the polls earlier than 8 o’clock, July 17, 1946.


11Alive invitations you to embark on a journey of unapologetic tales which have formed Atlanta’s previous, current and future this Black Historical past Month. Take a look at our assortment of tales: “DREAM x DISRUPT: Black Atlanta’s Daring Motion” at 11alive.com/blackhistory.

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