Between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century, Atlanta became home to several of the nation’s most important historically black colleges and universities, including Atlanta University, Clark University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College.
Morehouse is the only all-male African American college in the United States. Founded in 1867 as Augusta Institute, the school relocated to Atlanta in 1879 and after several name changes became Morehouse College in 1919. Dr. Benjamin Mays was perhaps the best known and most influential president of Morehouse, expanding the school’s academic reputation during his tenure from 1940 to 1967.
In the first part of the twentieth century, Morehouse, along with Spelman, were symbols of hope and inspiration to Southern African Americans. Over time, they had a profound effect on the quality of leadership in Atlanta’s black community. Morehouse produced many famous and influential graduates, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Julian Bond, Maynard Jackson, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Edwin Moses, former Surgeon General David Satcher, and Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, who was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services by President George H.W. Bush in 1989.
Cover Image: Dr. Benjamin E. Mays as President of Morehouse College mentored many future leaders in the Civil Rights Movement including Martin Luther King Jr., ca.1975.
East of downtown Atlanta, African Americans established a vibrant business and entertainment district along Auburn Avenue.