Morehouse College and Atlanta University each once had a white president. John Hope changed that.
Hope was born in Augusta in 1868 to a white father and free-born black mother. After graduating from Brown University, Hope taught first in Nashville. He married future black activist Lugenia Burns and moved to Atlanta to teach at Atlanta Baptist College. It became Morehouse College in 1913. He was appointed the school’s first black president in 1906.
Twenty-three years later, Hope became the first African-American president of Atlanta University, the first graduate school for black students in the country. He allied with fellow teacher W.E.B. DuBois in opposing Booker T. Washington’s call for blacks to forego social and political equality in favor of economic advancement. He was active in DuBois’s Niagara Movement—the forerunner of the NAACP—and he helped DuBois form that organization as well.
One of the most influential African-American leaders and educators of the 20th century was born in Augusta on June 2, 1868, Today in Georgia History.