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2003 Annual Meeting . . . The Question of Culture

Atlanta’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The first in a series of articles highlighting the sociological context of ASA’s next Annual Meeting location . . . Atlanta, Georgia . . .

by Obie Clayton, Morehouse College

The ASA Annual Meeting this year will feature a 2.5-hour tour to introduce Annual Meeting attendees to the world of higher education in black Atlanta. Atlanta is home to the largest consortium of black colleges in the world, the Atlanta University Center, a sprawling urban campus that boasts six independent colleges and universities. These include: Clark Atlanta University, The Morehouse School of Medicine, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College.

Many readers know that W.E.B. Dubois taught at Atlanta University in the late 1890s, and many argue that his Atlanta laboratory was one of the first sociology departments in the United States. ASA Annual Meeting attendees on the tour will visit the sites where he taught and wrote. The Atlanta University Center was also home to other prominent social scientists, including E. Franklin Frazier, Whitney Young, Anna Harvin Grant, and Robert Bullard.

What many readers may not know is that the Atlanta University Center was home to the civil rights movement in Atlanta and the South, with four of its institutions assuming prominent roles in this historic American social movement: Morehouse College, Spelman College, Atlanta University, and West Hunter Street Baptist Church. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lonnie King, Julian Bond, Ruby Doris Smith, and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, who pastored West Hunter Street Baptist Church when he was head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, all were associated with the Atlanta University Center.

This bus and walking tour will take Annual Meeting attendees past seven key buildings, which are on the list of national historic sites. We will see one of the largest collections of African-American art in the nation, housed in the galleries of Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College. Attendees likely will thoroughly enjoy the works of artists such as Aaron Douglas, William Henry Johnson, and Frederick C. Flemister.

This tour promises to be exciting and educational. When tour registration opens later this Spring, sign up and learn more about the nation’s preeminent Historically Black Colleges and Universities.