May Day at Atlanta University

I loved this image from an Atlanta University May Day celebration so much that I decided to write a post around it!

May Day, n.d. , Atlanta University Photographs, Robert W. Woodruff Library, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.
Winding the May Pole, Atlanta University Photographs, Robert W. Woodruff Library, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.

Atlanta University, which is now part of Clark Atlanta University, was founded shortly after the Civil War by the American Missionary Association. The institution began issuing degrees in the 1870s. Here’s an excerpt from an 1888 pamphlet describing the university and asking for funds.

Atlanta University collection. Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.

In 1920, the school put out a publication about its living graduates. Below is a list of the school’s earliest graduates.

Here is a table from the same 1920 document showing the professional fields the graduates entered.

This is a letter written by one of the young students in the Atlanta University Junior Preparatory class.

Here are some fabulous old photographs of Atlanta University from the Digital Library of Georgia and presented by the Robert W. Woodruff Library. Please visit the site to enjoy the entire collection.

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