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Phase Three - Direct Action & Desegregation - 1963

As restaurants and other businesses attempt to find ways to re-segregate their establishments, black students continue to sit-in and protest.

March: President John Kennedy asks Mayor Ivan Allen to travel to Washington to testify on behalf of passage of the Civil Rights Act. Allen is the only elected official from the South who gives such testimony. Kennedy is assassinated before the Act becomes a reality.

March 13: Five Atlanta University students -- one white and four black -- appeared at Henry Grady Hotel in downtown Atlanta with confirmed mail reservations for the coming night. The white student was Anna Jo Weaver, an exchange student at Spelman, and the four black students were Gwendolyn Iles, a Spelman senior, Willie P. Berrien from Clark, and Amos Brown and Timothy Wilson from Morehouse. Anna Jo was admitted; the other four were denied admission. The students staged a "lie-in" in the hotel lobby. They opened their suitcases, removed pillows and blankets, and made themselves comfortable on the sofas. When the students were asked to leave, Berrien and Brown refused to do so and were arrested.

August 28: A number of Atlanta civil rights activists participate in the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I Have A Dream” speech. John Lewis, national director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), is persuaded to tone down the militant stance of his speech.

The Atlanta Summit Leadership Conference is formed in October to unite more than 80 organizations representing all segments of the African American community. The organization also included some white support.

The city integrates its municipal swimming pools.