June 17

Grace Towns Hamilton

June 17, 1992 - Atlanta

She was the first African-American woman elected to the Georgia Legislature.

Grace Towns Hamilton was born in Atlanta in 1907. She graduated from Atlanta University in 1927 before earning a masters degree in psychology from Ohio State. Hamilton taught college for the next decade before she was appointed executive director of the Atlanta Urban League in 1943, one of the first women to hold such a post.

For 18 years she worked to improve African-American voting rights, housing, schools, and health care. In 1965, Hamilton became the first African-American woman elected to the Georgia State Legislature. Serving for 18 years, she was the principal architect of the 1973 Atlanta City Charter that increased black city council members. She also led the reapportionment battle that helped Andrew Young become the first black Georgian in Congress since Reconstruction.

The woman known as the most effective female legislator in Georgia died on June 17, 1992, Today in Georgia History.