Segregation in the City Too Busy to Hate

In the 1960s in an effort to promote Atlanta as a racially progressive city and to distinguish Atlanta from the racial violence occuring in other Southern cities, city leaders coined the moniker "The City Too Busy Too Hate."  Belying this marketing slogan were the deeply embedded segregation laws, policies and practices that restricted all aspects of African Americans' lives. Despite these barriers, African Americans were making progress, but always within the constraints of racial inequality.  

In 1948 African American citizens in Atlanta used their voting power to negotiate the hiring of eight African Americans policemen. By 1960 African American policemen increased to only 31, and black and white officers did not begin working together until 1969.  In 1960 the City of Atlanta had 42 parks for whites and only three for blacks; 12 swimming pools for whites and three for blacks, 16 recreation centers for whites and three for blacks. There were 4,000 hospital beds available for whites and only 780 available for blacks.  Despite some 300,000 African American citizens of Atlanta, there were no African Americans serving on the Atlanta Board of Aldermen, Board of Education, nor the boards for Recreation, the Library, and Public Welfare. 

A major proponent of continued segregation in the South was the local government’s reluctance— and often outright refusal—to enforce its own laws. Even after the Supreme Court had ruled against segregated schools in 1954, Atlanta schools remained segregated until 1961. Likewise, Grady Hospital was ordered by the Supreme Court to desegregate all of its facilities in 1962; Grady did not desegregate in full until 1965.