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Phase One - Gradualism and Negotiation - 1947

In the wake of the show of voting power in the Mankin race (1946), black leaders press Mayor William Hartsfield to hire African American police officers. The Atlanta Board of Aldermen holds public forums to gauge public sentiment. For various reasons, some white groups support the campaign. The city approves the recruitment of eight African American men to become the city’s first black police officers.

Brothers James and Robert Paschal open a small luncheonette on Hunter Street (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive). Later, they build the restaurant across the street that in the 1950s and 1960s would become known as “the kitchen of the civil rights movement” because Martin Luther King, Jr., and other black leaders frequently meet there. The Paschal brothers often post bail for arrested civil rights demonstrators, serve free meals, and stay open late so families have a place to greet relatives when they get out of jail. Just a block away, Frazier’s Café Society Restaurant would become another civil rights movement meeting place.