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Phase One - Gradualism and Negotiation - 1944

January: The Southern Regional Council (SRC) is formed by members of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC) to revitalize the effort for social reform in the South. The members of the interracial organization include college and university presidents, labor leaders, church ministers, and newspaper editors from 13 Southern states. The organization works for progress by collecting facts about racial problems in the South and making them available through publications to private citizens and public officials. SRC also encourages community activism.

April: The U.S. Supreme Courtís Smith v. Allwright decision declares white primaries unconstitutional. Black leaders in the city immediately pledge to go to the polls to vote in the upcoming July 4 election.

May: The Fulton County Citizens Democratic Club is established by Attorney A.T. Walden and John Wesley Dobbs, a retired postal clerk and leader in the Prince Hall Masons. Walden helped to establish 11 Democratic Clubs for African Americans across the state. Grace Towns Hamilton, executive director of the Atlanta Urban League, initiates a survey of the demographics of black Atlanta to be used to aid in voter canvassing efforts.

June: The Georgia Democratic Party vows to continue to prohibit African Americans from voting in the July 4 primary. A group of black leaders decide they will go to the polls and attempt to vote in preparation for filing a lawsuit against the Georgia Democratic Party for violating the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution. But party leaders advise the African American community not to try to vote, to avoid confrontations with poll officials and racist white voters.

During this year, Mayor William Hartsfield solicits the chairman of the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities to probe the NAACP because he believes the organization supports professional white agitators.

July 4: When African Americans in the city attempt to vote in the Democratic primary, they are told their names are not on the registration lists. The Fulton County Citizens Democratic Club calls for a federal investigation of the Democratic Partyís violation of votersí rights.