1940s-1960s

The undeveloped center of the neighborhood was subdivided and developed by the Williams brothers who were born and raised in East Atlanta and had build a lumber and concrete business nearby on Glenwood Avenue. As the residential area boomed, new banks, several super markets and drug stores, hardware stores, and a five-and-dime thrived. The Madison Theatre talking picture show and a new public library were built with the help of public donations.

In the 1960s, the civil rights struggle was at its peak across the country. Because the Grand Dragon of the KKK lived in an adjacent neighborhood, East Atlanta was targeted by civil rights groups to be an example of racial integration of housing. Under the protection of the Fair Housing Act, middle class black families were assisted in efforts to purchase houses in the area. Some real estate agents seized the opportunity to fan the flames of fear and racial prejudice. At their urging, many white families fled the area selling their homes at a loss. The new Interstate 20 highway that cut through the neighborhood removed some houses and allowed easy access to areas farther out.

During this time many hardworking black families achieved the dream of home ownership in a nice neighborhood with yards for the children and good schools nearby. Many white families remained refusing to give-in to social pressures and determined to live in harmony with their new neighbors.

Nicolia Gruendler