Civil Rights - Atlanta Magazine

Author Michele Cohen Marill

  • Michele Cohen Marill

    Editorial Contributor

    An Atlanta native, she has been writing for Atlanta magazine since 1990. She gained a reputation for taking on in-depth stories and delving into some of Atlanta’s most sensitive issues: tree loss caused by urban sprawl, the crumbling child protection system, the impact of illegal immigration. In 1991, she won a National Headliner Award (second place for “consistently outstanding feature writing in a magazine”). Her article on resegregation of Atlanta’s schools was part of the “Legacy” issue commemorating the death of Martin Luther King Jr., which was a finalist for a 2009 National Magazine Award for single topic issue. She is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism and also has written for Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Parents, PINK, Georgia Trend, and other magazines. She lives in Decatur with her husband and two teenage daughters.


SCOTUS ruling forces a new strategy for DeKalb groups

Civil rights organizations regroup, and the deposed DeKalb school board loses a legal angle

Civil rights organizations in Georgia are scrambling to come up with a strategy to respond to yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Read More

Viola Davis, a Brown v. Board veteran, gets into the DeKalb School Board battle

At six, Davis (no, not that Viola Davis) was part of third phase of Brown v. Board in Kansas. Now, she’s fighting for kids in DeKalb County.

Viola Davis was destined to battle the powers that be. She grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and at six, walked down the street to first grade at Monroe Elementary, a two-story, red-brick school that now is part of a museum commemorating the famous 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation case. Now Davis is at the crest of a wave of angry DeKalb residents, so angry that they have abandoned the usual blame-game between north and south DeKalb to come together against the school board. Read More


Integration was supposed to level the playing field in public schools. Fifty years later, is new de facto resegregation so bad?

Mary McMullen Francis doesn’t remember many details of August 30, 1961: the dress she wore or what her mother said before she walked out the door or the names of her teachers. But she remembers how eerily empty the street was of cars and people. Read More

The Last Dreamer

John Lewis was on the front lines in Selma, Birmingham and Montgomery. Today, the fight has changed

This article originally appeared in our August 2003 issue. Read More