The Atlanta Sit-ins Leadership

  • lonnie-king

    Dr. Lonnie King - Founder of Atlanta Student Movement

    As a young 22-year-old college student, Lonnie King knew that there were problems in his society that could not be ignored any longer. He wanted to make a difference, not just for himself, but for everyone. With a thought, a few willing students, and almost reckless determination, Lonnie King helped turn Atlanta inside out.

  • Charles Black

    Charles Black

    Among the giants of the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta such as Lonnie King and Julian Bond exists Charles Black, a student at Morehouse College who was first arrested at the age of 19 for standing up against segregation in the Atlanta area. In this NPR interview, Charles Black describes his experiences during the sit-ins that took place at Rich’s department store.

  • Gwendolyns Middlebrooks

    Dr. Gwendolyns Middlebrooks

    Gwendolyn Middlebrooks, a student at Spelman College, was one of the original members of the Atlanta Student Movement that began in 1960. Dr. Middlebrooks was jailed twice during the movement; once for picketing at the Georgia State Capitol and another for picketing at the courthouse.

  • Donald Hollowell

    Donald Hollowell - Attorney

    Donall Hollowell was a well-respected attorney during the time of the Atlanta Student Movement in 1960 to 1961. He was even designated as the chief lawyer in defense of civil rights protesters in Georgia by the NAACP. He graduated from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, earning a law degree  in 1951, which he then used to help the members of the Atlanta Student Movement and to assist other significant leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. 

  • Roslyn Pope

    Dr. Roslyn Pope

    In 1960, Roslyn Pope was a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She had recently returned from a study abroad trip in Paris, France. While in Paris, Pope was finally able to experience what it felt like to be treated as an equal individual, and she was not prepared to go back to a life divided by color. 

  • Lydia Tucker Arnold

    Lydia Tucker Arnold

    Lydia Tucker Arnold, known as Lydia Tucker at the time, was the secretary of student government at Clark College. During her senior year at Clark in February 1960, Tucker Arnold was invited to a meeting of student government officers of the Atlanta University Center institutions, where the intentions of fellow student activist Lonnie King were discussed.

  • Ruby Dorris Smith-Robinson

    Ruby Dorris Smith-Robinson

    Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson was one of the leaders who influenced many during the Civil Rights Movement and still today. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 25, 1942, and grew up in Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood. Her parents raised her and her seven siblings to be strong and independent by earning their wages off of black patronage, which was supported by the church. 

  • Sarah Howard Stephens 

    Sarah Howard Stephens

    Sarah Stephens, born Sarah Howard, is an Atlanta native, a Grady Baby, and was an important figure in the Atlanta Student Movement as well as civil rights from a business perspective. She attended David T. Howard High School and it was there where she met Dr. Lonnie King, who was still a student at the time and who would later go on to be one of the main leaders of the Atlanta Student Movement.

  • A.T. Walden

    A.T. Walden

    Austen Thomas Walden, a civil rights activist and attorney, graduated from the University of Michigan Law School with a degree in law in 1911. A Georgia native, Walden was “the son of Jeff Walden and Jennie Tomlin, former slaves” and experienced racial segregation and prejudice that was prevalent in the South during his lifetime.

  • Martin Luther King

    Martin Luther King Jr.

    Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929, and grew up in the Sweet Auburn area, famous for many influential African Americans. Martin Luther King Jr. was the second child of pastor Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. He was one of three children, his older sister, the future Christine King Farris, and younger brother Alfred Daniel Williams King.

  • Constance Curry

    Constance Curry

    Constance Curry was born in 1933 in Paterson, New Jersey. Her mother, Hazel Curry, and her father, Earnest Curry, were both Irish immigrants. Curry was raised in North Carolina, where she graduated from high school. Despite being raised in the South, her parents weren’t natives, which impacted her mindset during the fights for equality later in her life. Her upbringing left her mind free from discrimination that plagued many Southern people during this time.

  • William Hartsfield

    William Hartsfield - Mayor of Atlanta

    Born on Saturday, March 1, 1890, William B. Hartsfield would come to be one of the most influential mayors in Georgia’s history. Serving as the longest standing Atlanta mayor, Hartsfield helped navigate Georgia through the Great Depression, a civil rights movement and helped to establish the city as the aviation capital of the South.

  • Howard Zinn 

    Howard Zinn

    Howard Zinn was a professor of History as well as the department chair at Spelman College during the Civil Rights Movement. During his tenure, 1956-1963, he was able to inspire so many students to do more than just sit in a classroom and learn. Zinn said that he wanted to get out and experience the history that was happening and encouraged his students to do the same.

  • norma-june-wilson-davis

    Norma June Wilson Davis

    In 1940 in Jacksonville, Florida, a baby girl was born and named after her two grandmothers, Norma and June. Norma June Wilson Davis experienced childhood during times of segregation, but nevertheless remembers the fond memories of the parties her dad would throw for his fraternity. 

  • John F Kennedy

    John F Kennedy

    John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. While Kennedy’s involvement with the Atlanta student movement was minor, the influence it had on both the movement and Kennedy as a candidate were massive. Civil rights, including racial integration in schools and businesses, were a large part of Kennedy’s platform as he ran for president against Richard Nixon in 1960.