Story published July 15, 1993 in the Atlanta Constitution “A Man and His Museum”
In 1971 legislation was passed in Florida that mandated the creation of a repository to “serve the state by collecting and preserving source material on and about African Americans from ancient to present times.” Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University became home to that repository.
Dr. James N. Eaton was a history professor at FAMU and embarked on the task of collecting black memorabilia and artifacts.
The pictures news article states that Eaton is standing at a podium once used by Booker T. Washington and other well known African American orators. “Eaton was cruising interstate 95 in Georgia…he was in a truck stop when he saw near the Rebel flags and ceramic Jesus statues a ‘Jolly N****r Bank’…a relic of Jim Crow times.”
The Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum was renamed Meek- Eaton Black Archives after Dr. James N. Eaton’s passing in 2004 🕊
[source: FAMU & Kenan Research Center]
Pictured is a custom street pole banner which can be found along Georgia’s Stockbridge Main Street. One of 90+ Main Street programs in the state of Georgia, Stockbridge Main Street established the Martin Luther King, Sr. Heritage Trail in 2015.
Affectionately known as “Daddy King” Martin Luther King, Sr. was raised in Stockbridge, Georgia. As a youth he attended and would eventually teach his first sermon at Floyd Chapel Baptist Church (104 First St Stockbridge, GA). Regular Sunday services are held at the church 7:45 – 11 am.
There is a bridge in town, named Martin Luther King Sr. Bridge. City Hall has a commemorative plaque that details the King family’s connection to Stockbridge. 🖤#VisitBlackHistory ⚡️
In 1991, Claudine K. Brown visited Atlanta in search of African American artifacts and memorabilia that would go inside a future institution by the name of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Again her visit was in 1991. This article notes that in addition to viewing private collections, Ms. Brown also had plans to visit the Hammonds House, the Alonzo Herndon Home, APEX Museum, and Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. As Project Director, Ms. Brown’s Atlanta visit focused on meeting a deadline to determine if there were enough artifacts to fill a Black History museum. We all know the answer to that question now, don’t we?
A quick Google search reveals that Ms. Claudine K. Brown left the Smithsonian in the 1990s due to the institution’s failure to establish NMAAHC during that time, this shortcoming was influenced by political opposition from former U.S. Senator, the late James Helms, Jr. (NC).
Eventually, NMAAHC would open its doors to the public on September 24, 2016. Ms. Brown passed 5 months prior -March 27, 2016 (aged 67) 🕊
[source: news article on file at Kenan Research Center]
The “American Travelers Guide to Negro Monuments” was published by American Oil Company also known as AMOCO, in 1963. AMOCO described it as a “guide to historical sites… that are usually not mentioned in conventional guidebooks…not often included in ordinary textbooks… and [AMOCO’s] contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation”
Image 1: cover of American Travelers Guide to Negro Monuments
Image 2: Points of interest and portion of U.S. map
Image 3: page detailing Matthew Henson site in Maryland + Morgan State College’s (now Morgan State University) archival holdings of Henson, Benjamin Banneker, and Frederick Douglass artifacts
[source: Kenan Research Center]
Doing a bit of research on street name changes, here’s an example || On August 16, 1993 Atlanta City Council approved Ordinance Number 93-0-1140 resulting in “Renaming Houston Street in its entirety to John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and for other purposes”
Image 1: John Wesley Dobbs Ave and Jackson Street NE
Image 2: full record of city ordinance which notes “John Wesley Dobbs was a champion of African American business and Civil Rights in Atlanta and the Nation.”
Image 3: City Council votes on ordinance.
Image 4: Notice of a public hearing listed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
John Wesley Dobbs (1881-1962) is Maynard Jackson’s (1938-2003) maternal grandfather. Jackson was the mayor of Atlanta when the ordinance was signed and the street renamed in his grandfather’s honor.
[source: ordinance records on file at Kenan Research Center]