1940 - 1950
The civil rights timeline of Atlanta in the 1940s details the pivotal early years of the movement. New businesses were established, the community was urged to vote and more. Discover important pieces of Atlanta's amazing history with this civil rights timeline.
The Atlanta Negro Voters League is established to spur the political presence of African-Americans.
After the federal court ruled Georgia's all-white primary elections to be unconstitutional, the number of black voters soared. Until 1946, white candidates were interviewed by black voter representatives, and whomever promised to progress the community was backed these promises were rarely kept. To educate and register black voters, John Wesley Dobbs and A.T. Walden co-founded the Atlanta Negro Voters League, headquartered at the Butler Street YMCA. By 1949, African-Americans accounted for over 25% of Atlanta's population. With 20,000 registered voters, the black vote carried immense power within the elections, resulting in the South's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, elected in 1973.
December 4, 1949
The first African-American policemen are hired. They are restricted to African-American neighborhoods, carry no guns, and are barred from arresting white citizens.
With the staggering power of 20,000 voters, the city's first black policemen are hired. Persuaded by John Wesley Dobbs, Mayor William B. Hartsfield integrates the police force with eight African-American police officers. It was a small victory, as the black policemen were not allowed to carry guns, were restricted to "black-only" neighborhoods, and were refused the right to arrest white citizens. In efforts to avoid racial tension, the officers were told to report to the Butler Street YMCA instead of the Decatur Street headquarters. These stipulations resulted in the harassment of officers and continued for years to come.
Tour the MLK National Historic Site by GPS and enjoy history at your own pace.
Vicki L. Crawford, director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, discusses the annual observances of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and Black History Month