Heart of Atlanta Motel
Located at 255 Courtland Street, the motel was owned by Atlanta attorney Moreton Rolleston, Jr., a staunch segregationist. When Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in privately owned hotels, motels, and restaurants, Rolleston sued, claiming that the act violated his rights as a private businessman.
Rolleston represented himself as the case worked its way through federal court. In the end, the Supreme Court ruled against the Heart of Atlanta. Justice Tom Clark wrote the Court's unanimous opinion that Congress did have the power under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to pass the sweeping antidiscrimination law.
The decision led to the dismantling of segregation across the South, putting an end to the business of bigotry practiced at the Heart of Atlanta Motel when it opened on September 5, 1956, Today in Georgia History.
Moreton Rolleston, Jr., former owner of the Heart of Atlanta hotel, sued actor-director Tyler Perry over a property dispute in 2007.