Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

First Advisor

Clifford M. Kuhn

Second Advisor

Jacqueline A. Rouse

Third Advisor

Akinyele K. Umoja

Abstract

This dissertation explores the inception, evolution, and history of the East Washington community, located in East Point, Georgia. This African American community was strategically created in 1912, when the city council passed its first residential segregation ordinance. This research uses oral histories and other documents to reveal the survival techniques that enabled East Washington residents to endure the turmoil of Jim Crow racial segregation from the community’s 1912 inception, through urban renewal, integration, white flight, and the return of African Americans in the 1980s that resulted in their population majority. First, it identifies the people who chose to migrate to this area, where they came from and what enticed them to settle in East Point. Second, it discusses the network of institutions that they built and depended upon, including businesses, schools and churches, in order to maintain their largely autonomous community. Finally, it demonstrates the methods East Washington citizens employed to build a community that educated, protected, and nurtured children who became elected city officials, fire chiefs, professors, attorneys, physicians, teachers, dentists, human rights activists, and productive citizens of society.

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