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Honoring Black Excellence

The History of the Sweet Auburn District
DeAnna Mayfield
The Sweet Auburn District in Atlanta served as a thriving center of African American culture, activism, and entrepreneurship.
Sweet Auburn was a gathering place for marches, protests and rallies led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (DeAnna Mayfield )

After Dr. Carter G. Woodson graduated from Harvard in 1912, he saw the lack of black history being taught and the black achievements that were not included. In 1915, he started the Association for Negro Life and History. It still exists today but is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

He wanted to share the images and stories of the downtrodden as well as the achievements of the race. In 1926, Woodson’s first Negro History Week was held in February. It was established in February to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. These two figure’s actions greatly impacted African Americans. Woodson spent the next several years providing knowledge, inspiring Black people and encouraging progress. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially established Black History Month for the Nation.

The Apex Museum in the Sweet Auburn District teaches that black history is world history.

Kyler Young is an intern at the Apex Museum in the Sweet Auburn District in Atlanta, and history student at Georgia State University who says Black History Month is not just for one race of people. “Here at the Apex we teach that black history is world history, it affected everyone. It was the interruption of black history, but it was not where we started at all,” she says.

We came from wonderful kings and queens, and came up to be great people today.

— Kyler Young, Student Intern at the Apex Museum

The Sweet Auburn District was the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. (DeAnna Mayfield)

The Sweet Auburn district in Atlanta holds a special place in the history of Black History Month, as it served as a thriving center of African American culture, activism and entrepreneurship. The district was home to influential figures like Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King whose leadership in the Civil Rights Movement had a profound impact on the recognition and celebration of Black history.

“The street is Sweet Auburn has a rich history and there is a lot of black excellence on this street,” says Kyler. Sweet Auburn was a hub of black-owned businesses, churches, and community organizations that provided support and empowerment to African Americans during a time of segregation and discrimination.

In 1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership of the Civil Rights movement and his commitment to racial justice through nonviolence. (DeAnna Mayfield )

The significance of the Sweet Auburn district in Atlanta on Black history is evident in its role as a focal point for civil rights activism and resistance. The area was a gathering place for marches, protests and rallies led by Martin Luther King Jr. and other prominent civil rights leaders, shaping the course of the movement and inspiring generations to fight for equality and justice.

Today, the legacy of the Sweet Auburn district lives on as a reminder of the resilience, creativity and strength of the African American community. Its contributions to Black History Month continue to be celebrated and honored, highlighting the importance of preserving and promoting the history and achievements of African Americans for future generations. Black History is American history and serves as inspiration to all.

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