Exploring Atlanta, the cradle of civil rights

Referred to as the cradle of the Civil Rights Motion and sometimes known as the Black Mecca, Atlanta has deep roots within the success and historical past of Black People

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

“This can be 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 mentioned.

Hobson wrote “The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class within the Making of Fashionable Atlanta” and has spent numerous hours there learning the previous and its influence on at this time.

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

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

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

He mentioned 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 Black training, we’ve got Black economics, the third side of that was the rise of Black empowerment in electoral politics,” Hobson mentioned. 

Full interview with Dr. Bernice King

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Following the federal court docket case of King v. Chapman, Hobson mentioned 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 lots of of 1000’s of Black voters in Georgia.

“After all, they’re concentrated right here in Atlanta, Georgia,” Hobson mentioned 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 come back to Atlanta and court docket the Black vote.”

As extra Black individuals started to make positive aspects, 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, mentioned 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 at this time, the religion group and scores of Black entrepreneurs, King mentioned the legacy of that work a long time in the past nonetheless lives at this time.

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

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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 newer Black historical past legacy as properly.

“Folks say Atlanta is the cradle of civil rights, and it is in accordance 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 mentioned. “That they had a system the place they might negotiate, go within the again room, make the deal, and issues would reasonably occur that method.”

She mentioned whereas these efforts labored and may nonetheless present a blueprint for at this time, there’s nonetheless work to be executed, particularly for many who have been left behind on a humanitarian stage, a message for future change-makers, younger and outdated.

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

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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