What's In A Name? | Civil Rights in Atlanta Streets

Aug 14, 2018

Atlanta was at the heart of the American civil rights movement in 1950s to the 1960s. 

As such, many of Atlanta's streets are a reminder of some of the leaders who paved the way to racial equality in Georgia. 

Reverend Joseph E. Boone (September 19, 1922 - July 15, 2006)
Credit Joseph E Boone Memorial Foundation

One of those leaders was Rev. Joseph E. Boone, who led a movement to desegregate shops and lunch counters.

Joseph E. Boone Boulevard runs south of Lincoln Cemetery on Atlanta's west side. It also serves as common border between the Atlanta neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue. 

Connecting with Joseph E. Boone Boulevard on the way to the Georgia Aquarium is Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard. 

Allen ran for office in 1961 and won out over Lester Maddox. 

Ivan Allen Jr.
Credit Atlanta Journal Constitution

Ivan Allen Jr. became a two-term Atlanta mayor who served from 1962 until 1970. 

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, one of Allen's first orders as mayor was the removal of "colored" and "white" signs in  Atlanta City Hall. 

Another civil rights leader recognized in the name of an Atlanta street is Donald Lee Hollowell, as in Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. 

Donald Lee Hollowell (right) stands next to wife Louise Hollowell (left). In the background is a sign that read Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.
Credit Atlanta Journal Constitution

Hollowell practiced civil rights law.

He is acknowledged as making legal breakthroughs, which would ultimately allow for desegregation in Georgia schools. 

A map showing Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Joseph E Boone Boulevard and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard.
Credit Google Maps

Another Atlanta civil rights icon, Ralph D. Abernathy was also featured in our series. To find out more about him and the streets named for him check out the link below. 

Click here to find more stories behind curious Atlanta names from our summer 2018 series "What's In A Name?" on 88.5 GPB Atlanta’s All Things Considered.