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Atlanta hip-hop would not be what it is today without the Atlanta University Center. It’s a bold statement, but one that rings true—the roster of artists, DJs, and music executives who’ve graced the AUC campuses is a veritable who’s who of the music industry, and the AUC has been instrumental in molding the fabric of Atlanta’s hip-hop culture.
New Student Orientation at Spelman and Morehouse was a bittersweet rite of passage for the class of 2027 and their parents.
Just west of the futuristic origami that is Mercedes-Benz Stadium, some of Atlanta’s most richly historic buildings stand abandoned on a hilltop like oversize, graffiti-strewn headstones in a forgotten cemetery. One gate of the tall chain-link fence surrounding some of these Vine City properties is bent dramatically outward, as if a velociraptor escaped. But just beyond that, a deep-red billboard stands like a beacon of hope, reading: “Master Plan Development Underway . . . Details Coming Soon.”
This summer, we gathered Spelman College alumnae from across different generations to talk about how the school shaped their lives. They talked about sisterhood, scholarship, and how their college days intersected with pivotal moments in Atlanta history, from the civil rights movement to the pandemic.
A roundup of yearbook photos of famous Atlanta University Center alumni, including Martin Luther King Jr., Samuel L. Jackson. Raphael Warnock, Stacey Abrams, Tayari Jones, and more.
Whoever controls the narrative has the power. In 1900, when the renowned sociologist, author, and Atlanta University professor W.E.B. Du Bois presented his groundbreaking The Exhibition of American Negroes at the Paris Exposition, he painted a revolutionary picture of what it meant to be Black in America.
“Through these materials we see the vast impact that this tragic event in Atlanta had on generations of Atlantans, as well as the work done within Jackson’s administration” to address the murders, said Tiffany Atwater Lee, head of research services at the library’s Archives Research Center.
West End was named in the 1860s after London’s famed theater district. Connected to downtown by horse-drawn streetcars, the suburb soon attracted affluent residents, including mayors, a governor, business owners, and Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus tales. Though the neighborhood experienced white flight during the mid-20th century, it has long benefited from its proximity to the Atlanta University Center—drawing prominent residents like Dr. O.T. Hammonds, whose grand Victorian home is now an art museum. In recent years, the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside Trail has brought new development—such as the sprawling Lee + White complex—along with the mixed benefits of gentrification. Through it all, strong local leadership has ensured that the “Best End” keeps its sights on the future.
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