Civil Rights

October 6, 1921

Joseph Lowery

Clashes with the Ku Klux Klan began Joseph Lowery's life long fight for equality. The man who became one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s chief lieutenants was born in Huntsville, Alabama. Early encounters with bigotry would shape the direction of his life as a Methodist minister. Inspired by Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, […]

October 4, 1942

Bernice Johnson Reagon

Her most powerful weapon is her voice. It always has been. Bernice Johnson Reagon was born in Albany. The Baptist minister's daughter grew up immersed in the power and glory of spirituals.  Reagon's activism began at Albany State in 1961. She was arrested for participating in a civil rights protest sponsored by SNCC, the Student Non–Violent […]

October 12, 1958

Temple Bombing

In the early morning hours of this day in 1958, 50 sticks of dynamite exploded at the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, Atlanta's oldest and most prominent synagogue. Though no one was injured, the city's Jewish population feared the rise of anti-Semitism reminiscent of the Leo Frank lynching. The temple was the fourth southern synagogue to be […]

September 5, 1956

Heart of Atlanta Motel

It was touted as one of the finest hotels between New York and Miami, but its owner refused to rent rooms to black patrons. The Heart of Atlanta Motel, which opened on this day in 1956, would figure into the heart of a landmark civil rights case. Located at 255 Courtland Street, the motel was […]

September 18, 1895

The Atlanta Cotton States & International Exposition

On this day in 1895, President Grover Cleveland threw an electric switch at his Massachusetts home and officially opened the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition. Civic leaders wanted to promote Georgia‚Äôs economic development and showcase Atlanta as the resurgent heart of the New South. 800,000 people visited the 6,000 exhibits. They saw the Liberty […]

September 19, 1868

The Camilla Massacre

Long before “bloody Sunday” in Selma, Georgia had a much bloodier civil rights event – the Camilla Massacre. On this day in 1868, during Reconstruction, a political rally in Mitchell County resulted in about a dozen freedmen being killed and 30 other wounded. Georgia had just been readmitted to the Union, but blacks and whites […]