Black Women at the Fore: Perry Homes and the Transformation of Tenant Activism in 1960s Atlanta

In the following excerpt from the third chapter of Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2021), author Akira Drake Rodriguez examines the role of Black women in tenant association activism and their pursuit for social and spatial justice.

Excerpted from Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing by Akira Drake Rodriguez. Copyright © 2021 University of Georgia Press. Used with permission of the publisher, University of Georgia Press. All rights reserved.

In his introduction to this excerpt for Atlanta Studies, Prentiss Dantzler highlights how Rodriguez’s work helps us think about participatory geographies, housing and the affordability crisis, anti-Blackness, and the Black Radical Tradition.

Prentiss Dantzler’s Introduction, “Public Housing, Tenant Activism, and Atlanta’s Expanding Black Political Geographies” 

For many, public housing invokes thoughts of an overextension of the federal government into the housing market and failed urban policies that segregated Black and White households. But for others, public housing was, and continues to be, home. It conjures up feelings of stability, belonging, and community. Given the bifurcated views of public housing, urban scholarship has often obscured the historiography of this federal program. Such illustrations have fueled resistance from neighboring communities, policymakers, and even some housing advocates seeking to rid their cities of urban blight. Whether it involved caricatures of “welfare queens” and the undeserving poor, or “broken windows” and crumbling buildings in desperate need of repair, public housing, and its residents, have been constantly demonized.

Sharing in the Black Radical Tradition, Akira Drake Rodriguez shifts our understanding of public housing solely as a site of melancholy toward these communities as sources of political engagement. Diverging Space for Deviants focuses on public housing as a site of “Black participatory geography,” in which the boundaries of political activism were cultivated among tenants and spatialized around the city through public housing sites. Situated within the Black Mecca, Rodriguez uncovers the motivations, tactics, and limitations of Black resistance. Through vivid accounts of local organizing efforts, Rodriguez positions Black women at the forefront of such efforts. This is a novel change from the gendered histories of civil rights activism. While the Civil Rights Movement pushed for changes for Black people, the role of women is often obscured and rendered invisible (similar discounts are inherent within the Feminist Movement). 

In this excerpt, Rodriguez discusses how working-poor Black women in Atlanta employed Black feminist planning methods as a form of spatial justice. Rodriguez writes, “The social positioning of Black women, with race denying them the fragility of white femininity and gender denying them the authority and wage (however depressed) of Black men, double oppressed them in ways that produced a more inclusive politics” (p. 104). Interrogating the social positioning of Black women within public housing sites forces a deeper consideration of how urban spaces changed within the city.

To provide evidence for this understanding, Rodriguez looks at tenant associations within public housing and how they (led by Black women) created and used existent opportunity political structures to get things done. The first project of this sort was the Perry Homes Community Center. Given the segregationist tactics of urban planners and policymakers around the city, tenants used their concentrated political power to push for community improvements and to shape the built environment around them. Rodriguez notes, “There is something to be said about the shift in prioritizing social space over political space, and I believe this relates directly to the increasing representation of women and children in the postwar public housing population” (p.106). Political spaces are inherently gendered in which men, White or Black, represent a form of dominance through particular ideologies and practices. This means that political spaces are not just sites of and for political engagement but loci of gendered discourses and practices that reinforce hegemonic forms of patriarchy through the election of White and Black men. The fight for public spaces becomes a struggle to realize that Black women (and their children) exist. Rodriguez writes, “…it is important to note the bottom-up sequencing of who the spaces serves and in what order – children, parents, homes, city – and how that relates to constructed concepts of liberation in community and Black liberation as a decidedly social and communal project” (p. 107). Given the racist history of public housing policy and the distancing of elite, Black political leadership, Black women forged ahead to garner resources for their own communities.

By not relying upon traditional forms of political and social engagement, Black women living in public housing became what Rodriguez refers to as deviants. Rodriguez notes that the book “examines how politically deviant public housing tenants reappropriate, or diverge, the marginalized spaces of public housing communities to reflect the political interests of those intentionally excluded from urban planning and other political process” (p. 4-5). The ballot box was then reduced to only one form of political engagement. While extant literature describes how such practices were relegated to Black churches, historically Black colleges and universities, and Black social organizations, Rodriguez vividly shows how “Perry Homes and other postwar developments expanded Black participatory geographies by institutionalizing political opportunity for those long ignored by elite, Black political leadership” (p. 112). Thus, public housing was more than a housing development for low-income, Black communities across the Atlanta region. It was even more than a space of social gatherings and familial experiences. Public housing was, and continues to be, a political space through which individuals and families claim and reclaim their right to exist within and around cities. With a strong shift to vouchers and mixed-income developments, the question then becomes are these sites just vestiges of the past?

Rodriguez rightfully notes, “We know that public housing reduces the negative impacts of gentrification and can provide interventions of housing and social services that directly address the causes for those experiencing homelessness. Yet instead of providing this social safety net, the program’s current transformation and ongoing privatization barely makes a dent in serving these populations in need” (p. 218). The current global urban housing affordability crisis intersects largely with a global racial project of anti-Blackness. That project renders cities as sites of and for White, elite placemaking. Although deviance has been used to construct caricatures of Black people and places as urban blight, under the Black Radical Tradition, Black women shifted the narrative to engage the state through coalition building and participatory democracy.

As Rodriguez shows, the historiography of public housing politics illustrates how Black people operated beyond others’ spatial imaginaries of the ghetto. With recent attention to the ways in which Stacey Abrams organized to promote voter registration and voter-protection efforts across Georgia, among other states, it is clear that Black women continue to shift the participatory geographies of and for Black people.

Prentiss Dantzler, Georgia State University

From Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing

Perry Homes and the Greater Northwest Community

Six months after Perry Homes’ January 1955 opening, 904 families moved into the development after undergoing the stringent tenant selection process of the Atlanta Housing Authority.1 In spite of the urgency of the Black housing market, tenants were selected following an initial screening of income requirements, an inspection of the current home to verify whether it was substandard, and housing manager approval. Minimum income requirements (except in the case of government relocation) and employment verification limited the selection of tenants to the deserving poor.2 The Perry Homes tenant population was initially similar to that of University Homes and other prewar developments.


However, while the residents themselves were Black working-class and middle-class tenants, the northwest neighborhood into which they moved did not reflect their political capital. Compared to the neighborhoods inhabited by their white counterparts, the public goods and services of the northwest neighborhoods were considerably inadequate.3 This section describes how the Perry Homes tenant association, in conjunction with local and citywide organizations, mobilized the resources of their residents to correct the racial and economic inequities in the city’s allocation of public goods and services. This is an initial way the development was able to mobilize its resources in pursuit of spatial justice.

The disparity of public schools, libraries, and parks between white and Black neighborhoods was significant in 1954 Atlanta. A city map shows there were three libraries designated for Black use: a University Homes branch (discussed in chapter 2), the first branch constructed by Andrew Carnegie on Auburn Avenue, and the West Hunter branch, located in the southwest quadrant of the city.4 Eventually, another library branch was constructed in the northwest—Dogwood Branch on Bankhead Highway—for Black residents’ use, but was largely inaccessible to Perry Homes children lacking transit fare.5

When Perry Homes opened there were no high schools for Black students in the area, except for the overcrowded Turner High School—one of three Black high schools in Atlanta.6 Construction soon began on the Samuel Harper Archer High School, which accepted its first students in 1957, while construction of the classrooms were still ongoing.7 Within a decade, this high school would also face serious overcrowding issues; the 1,661 students attended the school in double shifts, while the night school for adults further strained the school’s limited resources.8 In spite of the Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate public schools in 1954, Atlanta schools were not desegregated until 1961.9

Parks, recreational facilities, and green spaces were underresourced and also difficult to access for Black residents in the northwest.10 At the time of Perry Homes’ construction, there was one large park for Black residents in the southwest, compared to ten large parks for whites throughout Atlanta. The two large parks located in the Central Business District were restricted to white use only, even though Black residents lived in many of the neighborhoods adjacent to the CBD until the start of the city’s Urban Renewal program. There were also ten white community parks—smaller parks that included playground equipment— compared to three community parks for Black residents. Neighborhood parks and green spaces, designed to accommodate neighborhood children and provide open space throughout the city, were located exclusively in white neighborhoods. In 1954, there were approximately twenty-nine neighborhood parks and sixteen green spaces for white Atlantans.

Atlanta Substandard Housing, Before and After a Bridge was Constructed to Connect Perry Homes to Gun Club Park, May 26, 1968. Photo by Charles R. Pugh Jr.. AJCP214-024ax, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archive. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Copyright Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Courtesy of Georgia State University.

In addition to insufficient libraries, schools, and parks, the development’s first decade was marked by complaints of poor public services and infrastructure. The trunk line sewer installed during Perry Homes’ construction could not accommodate the concomitant growth in multifamily homes over the next decade. By 1965, the population of Perry Homes and its surrounding community totaled over ten thousand residents. Due to this state neglect, residents complained frequently about sewage backup in their yards and their homes.11

Sewage overflow ran into Proctor Creek, the northern boundary of Perry Homes, creating an environmental hazard and unpleasant odors for residents. Residents complained about unpaved areas around front and back entrances that left floors and drying clothes caked in a fine red clay dust.12 Further, there were few sidewalks throughout the development, which limited the walkability of the area for all residents, but particularly for children going to school. Similar to University Homes, there were no traffic lights installed at the major intersections on the southern and eastern entrances of the development, creating difficulties for children walking to school and adults walking to bus stops.13

Raw Sewage Ditch at Perry Homes, November 6, 1978. Photo by Ray West. AJCP280-044c, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Copyright Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Courtesy of Georgia State University.

The white supremacist spatial logics that dictated which areas were suitable for Black neighborhoods meant that many were adjacent to or wholly contained in areas once zoned for heavy industry. The formation of community organizations around environmental justice has long been a part of the Black radical tradition.14 Black women took the lead in this and many other movements serving politically deviant interests in postwar Atlanta. The multiple movements at the local level pushed tenant associations to be more responsive to these interests.

Black Women at the Fore: Black Feminist Planning Methods as Spatial Justice

Working-poor Black women in Atlanta had been organizing for a long time. Dating back to the late nineteenth century, Black and white washerwomen organized one of the earliest interracial strikes in the South as they protested for higher wages.15 They also organized in the Neighborhood Union, for the Gate City Day Care. Later, they worked the polls, mimeographs, and ovens and did other spade work that sustained the long desegregation movement for public schools and other public goods.

When the schools finally desegregated and Black students on the south side of Atlanta were legally able to enroll in schools on the north side, Black women who worked as domestics organized to get higher wages from their north side bosses to cover the bus fare for them and their children. Dorothy Bolden, founder of the National Domestic Workers Union, was one of the women to connect the public and private spheres through her lived experience, which informed her political organizing. Bolden, who was born in Newnan, Georgia, and moved to Vine City by the age of six, had been employed as a domestic worker since the age of nine.16 Black women like Bolden, who have long had to work inside and outside the home (and often, working outside of the home meant working inside of someone else’s home), are well positioned to articulate the common interests between the public and private spheres. The social positioning of Black women, with race denying them the fragility of white femininity and gender denying them the authority and wage (however depressed) of Black men, doubly oppressed them in ways that produced a more inclusive politics. Bolden herself states:

We (working-class women) are in the best position to know the struggles. We have all given up a lot. I stomp the ground for Black and white.17

Bolden’s ability to stomp the ground is also a by-product of her social positioning. When Bolden campaigned for Julian Bond, he noted that her network of domestic workers put her in many communities, many times a day:

I think she just walked and talked in the neighborhood. We would give her a small bunch of campaign literature and . . . depended on her to walk around in the neighborhood and influence her friends and associates. It was almost as if she was the center of an informal network. Now the other people who were at the centers of formal networks—political clubs—some of them were more imaginary than real. But I just had the feeling that she had this web of influence . . . She was in touch with all these maids, and they were people who moved through the community twice a day. They left and they came back; they left and they came back. And I just had this image of this kind of talky bunch of women who, if they’re talking about you in a good way, can only help. So she was into that loose, loose network. That was my picture of her, as well as her non-maid friends and neighbors and associates and so on, so she was just a good person to have on your side.18

Just as the demographics and politics of the community were shifting, the political opportunity structure was also adjusting to accommodate the increasingly converging needs and decreasingly available resources of residents inside and outside the public housing development. Instead of the traditional relationship where the public housing development funneled state and federal resources outward into the local community to produce new Black geographies, tenant associations were formally partnering with local organizations to increase capacity and autonomy outside of the increasingly racist housing authority. They worked to expand and maintain new Black participatory geographies.

The Council of Neighborhood Organizations (CNO) was formed to “stimulate the organization of Neighborhood Improvement Groups coordinate the activities of these groups through the Council . . . conduct neighborhood Social Welfare Projects . . . sponsor city-wide Social Welfare Programs . . . discover unmet Social Welfare needs affecting Negroes and help organize for community action.”19 The CNO was taking up the excess produced by the city’s approach of externalizing racial inequality into ad hoc committees and patronage-heavy boards and commissions. By centering racial inequality and the needs of those discriminated against, the CNO was mobilizing for those not included in the interests of the class-centered biracial urban regime.

There were seventeen organizations in the CNO membership, including elected tenant association leaders and managers from Carver, Eagan, Grady, Herndon, Perry, and University/John Hope Homes, representatives from eight neighborhood associations or civic leagues, and leadership from three citywide organizations. Religious groups, established political groups, and white “advisers” are notably absent from the membership list. Without the restrictions of uplift ideology, religious morality, and respectability politics structuring political opportunities, more deviant Black interests had the ability to assert power through public housing developments. New political norms, tactics, and strategies emerged to complement this more radical assemblage of interests for Black social and spatial justice.

Perry Homes Tenant Association and Goals

The first elected tenant association at Perry Homes reflected the residential population: three men held the leadership positions (Reverend C. A. Samples, president; Reverend Jerome Graham, vice president; Mr. Willie Schofield, treasurer), while three women held the remaining positions (Mrs. Helen Grimes, secretary; Mrs. Louise Williams, publicity director; Mrs. Margie Freeman, assistant secretary). Mr. John Cullen held the newly created position of tenant chaplain.20 Another change in the tenant association structure was the introduction of two-year terms for tenant association officers, which allowed for long-term projects and initiatives. With such a large residential population, tenant association officers were tasked with large-scale projects and often worked with local community groups to achieve project goals.

The first project of note was the construction of the Perry Homes Community Center, which was not completed at the time of the opening. As described in chapter 2 and throughout this chapter, public space was sorely needed in the Black community, as the majority of Black land use was dedicated to residential construction. Floyd A. Hunter describes in detail the segregated spaces of power for Black and white leaders: while white leaders met in private homes and hotels, Black leaders of equal socioeconomic status were typically confined to the basements of Black churches and the Butler Street YMCA.21 In spite of the significant gains in political economic power after 1946, Atlanta’s Black community remained spatially marginalized in the postwar city. Upon the 1955 completion of Perry Homes, families moved into a development that was sited in an undeveloped neighborhood. On a positive note, this allowed residents, and by extension the tenant association, to take an active role in shaping the community around them.

Unlike the auditorium at University Homes that was planned and constructed as a political space, the AHA’s intent for this multipurpose space was decidedly social. There is something to be said about the shift in prioritizing social space over political space, and I believe this relates directly to the increasing representation of women and children in the postwar public housing population. The programmatic initiatives of postwar public housing in Atlanta focus less on Americanizing residents into white, middle-class norms than the initiatives of those built by the PWA and AHA in the prewar era. During the 1958 dedication of the community center, AHA executive director M. B. Satterfield (a white male) noted that the event “marks the end of a period of delay and discouragement and the beginning of a period of pleasure of fulfillment in its use.”22[

Conversely, Black housing manager J. R. Henderson described the community center as a space of enrichment and social welfare: “we shall call upon all community resources in the fields of Education, Health, Religion, Welfare, and Recreation to help us utilize this facility toward the building of better children, better parents, better homes, and a better City.”23 Thus, even as the AHA planned to provide for a play area for resident and neighborhood children, the tenants actively shaped the agenda for the community center to fit both their political and social needs. Here it is important to note the bottom-up sequencing of who the space serves and in what order—children, parents, homes, city—and how that relates to Black liberation as a decidedly social and communal project.

During the early years of Perry Homes, the tenant association worked with the Butler Street YMCA and the Board of Education to lobby for new school construction in the area.24 What the residents lacked in economic power they made up for in sheer numbers, and it was through pressure on the city’s electoral coalition that Perry Homes residents were able to advance their agenda. While city leaders constructed the northwest ghetto to isolate poor Black residents from their affluent white neighbors, they also indirectly created a powerful political base for poor, Black interests. Perry Homes alone housed five thousand residents in the development.25 By 1958, residents had pushed for a shopping center, elementary school, and high school, which were all constructed within or adjacent to the Perry Homes development.26

The community center strengthened the development’s ability to mobilize the resources of partners such as the Butler Street YMCA, but this partnership exposed a growing divide within the tenant population. The Atlanta Community Chest and Gate City Day Care Association provided funding and staff to open a branch of the Gate City Day Care in the Perry Homes community center, offering caretaking services to both residents and members of the surrounding community.27 However, the recreational services the Butler Street YMCA provided were available only to those who had a membership at the YMCA. For many of the first families residing in Perry Homes, their working-class and middle-class salaries could bear the expense of a membership for childhood enrichment. However, a growing proportion of families in Perry Homes were not only receiving government subsidies but were also increasingly led by single women.28 These demographic changes were not yet visible in the tenant association leadership until the early 1960s, when a number of officers are referred to as “Ms.”29

This changing leadership focused much more on institutionalizing survival strategies than previous tenant associations. The AHA was openly hostile to working with these new tenant leaders—labeling the rise of single-woman households as proof of “the existence of serious family problems, some of them economic, and some social.”30 However, the Black women leadership were persistent in advocating for programs and facilities to accommodate the new lived realities in public housing.

When Archer High School attempted to solve its overcrowding problem by implementing double shifts, or two full school days in one, the Perry Homes tenant association and the local Community Relations Commission (CRC) protested.31 The majority of Archer parents worked outside of the home (another recent demographic shift), and early dismissal of students without after-school activities or adequate recreational facilities would produce a deviant by-product of idle youth. The tenant association expanded its campaign for increased recreational opportunities and facilities by also mobilizing for more job opportunities near the development that matched the skills and needs of the unemployed resident population.32

Postwar public housing developments transformed as political opportunity structures by incorporating the interests and activism of women and women leaders. Tenant associations began advocating more directly for inclusion in urban planning and policymaking processes. The grievances of Black women on these changing tenant associations were intersectional, addressed the needs of working mothers and working caretakers, and understood the complexity of the extended family and queer family structures. This differs from earlier tenant association grievances that focused on Black male and traditional family structure needs and interests.

Between 1968 and 1969, Perry Homes residents were active through and against the tenant association. The most notable characteristic of the activity from Perry Homes tenants was the strong anti-management nature of the claims and grievances. Much of this anti-management political action stemmed from the age of the public housing developments. Aging developments had more maintenance issues that could not be addressed using the declining revenues from poorer households. A poorer and more militant tenant population received less AHA patronage, which had strengthened and empowered the pro-management leanings of earlier developments. Political organizations and spaces outside of the public housing development facilitated tenants’ anti-management organizing.

In September 1966, the Atlanta Community Relations Commission moderated a series of community meetings immediately following the uprisings in Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood.33 The mayor appointed a committee that was authorized through an aldermanic ordinance to “work in the field of human relations, to foster understanding and education among different economic, social, and racial groups in the city.”34 The Community Relations Commission (CRC) remained instrumental in supporting the white supremacist spatial logics that prioritized the needs of all white residents over Black residents, up to and including the peaceful rearrangement of the racial geography of the city. In previous years, the group had worked in concert with tenant associations to force the school district to open up more high schools for Black students. The CRC addressed the needs of communities while procedurally continuing to marginalize Black residents in Atlanta. But the CRC did expand opportunities by bringing together multiple tenant associations residing in a particular area of the city. This is one of the first instances of gathering multiple tenant associations for the purpose of discussing citywide conditions.

By January 1969, the AHA had taken the lead on these meetings and resorted to limiting them to specific developments. The AHA shifted the focus of the meetings to address the individual and development-level grievances of residents—those concerning maintenance, evictions, and changes in rent and rent collection. However, these meetings did little to change the conditions structuring daily life in Perry Homes, and tenants continued to organize around those conditions. The CRC was a space that allowed the initial exchange of grievances between public housing communities. By expanding the political geographies of public housing tenant associations—largely combining these disparate groups into common spaces over time to address spatial issues—these CRC community meetings formed the basis for new political opportunity structures that advocated for tenant procedural rights over space.

Great Speckled Bird v. 2 no. 21 (August 4, 1969): 8.
Great Speckled Bird v. 2 no. 21 (August 4, 1969): 8.

Abernathy and TUFF were pressing the AHA to adopt the Tenant’s Bill of Rights that was released to the public in May 1969. At the protests, the conditions of the housing authority’s properties that were becoming increasingly Black, led by women, and fiscally abandoned by federal authorities were outlined eloquently by Abernathy as women, children, and men held signs mocking the “pests” of the AHA.35 The bill of rights included accommodations for nontraditional family structures and limited surveillance during the application process: “questions concerning the legal standing or marital status of members of the family, the legitimacy of the children in the family, the police record of members of the family and other such information, including race or religion, shall not appear on the application form, or be asked by any Authority employee.”36 The bill of rights, the formation of TUFF, and the expansion of traditional Black participatory geographies such as the Black church to cover these deviant interests all suggest that public housing political opportunity structures were transforming to accommodate its new tenant majority: single Black women.

To learn more about tenant association activism and the politics of public housing in Atlanta read Akira Drake Rodriguez’s new UGA Press book Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing from which the above excerpt is drawn.

About the Introduction: Prentiss Dantzler is an assistant professor in the Urban Studies Institute at Georgia State University. His work lies at the nexus of urban poverty and inequality, housing policy, race and ethnic relations, and community development practice. Find him on Twitter.

Cover Image Attribution: Gladys King stands outside her Perry Homes ResidenceAJCP280-044rAtlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Courtesy of Georgia State University. 

Citation: Drake Rodriguez, Akira. “Black Women at the fore: Perry Homes and the Transformation of Tennant Activism in 1960s Atlanta.” Atlanta Studies. May 26, 2021.

Akira Drake Rodriguez is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design. She writes about race, cities, and space in the US, and her book, Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing (University of Georgia Press 2021), examines the dialectic between black feminist politics and public housing policy in Atlanta from 1936 to 2010. Find her on Twitter.


  1. 17th Atlanta Housing Authority Annual Report, 1955, Organizational Records, Atlanta Housing Authority Archives.[]
  2. Michael B. Katz, The Undeserving Poor: America’s Enduring Confrontation with Poverty (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).[]
  3. Ronald H. BayorRace and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Atlanta (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1996).[]
  4. Map of the city of Atlanta, 1954, Bureau of Planning Records.[]
  5. Report on Meeting for the Northwest, 1967, Atlanta Commission on Community Relations Papers, James G. Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Subsequent materials cited in the Atlanta Commission on Community Relations Papers are in this research center.[]
  6. Perry Homes Tenant Association Notes, 1956, Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records, Atlanta Housing Authority Archives. Subsequent materials cited in the Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records are in this archive.[]
  7. Perry Homes Tenant Newspaper, 1957, Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records.[]
  8. Report on Meeting for the Northwest, 1967, Atlanta Commission on Community Relations Papers.[]
  9. Kevin Kruse, White Flight: Race and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).[]
  10. List of Atlanta parks, 1954, Bureau of Planning Records.[]
  11. Report on Meeting for the Northwest, 1967, Atlanta Commission on Community Relations Papers.[]
  12. Letter from Perry Homes Manager, 1958, Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records.[]
  13. Ibid.[]
  14. Laura Pulido and Juan De Lara, “Reimagining ‘Justice’ in Environmental Justice: Radical Ecologies, Decolonial Thought, and the Black Radical Tradition,” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 1, no. 1–2 (2018): 76–98.[]
  15. Tera Hunter, To ’Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors after the Civil War (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998).[]
  16. Jean Tyson, “Dorothy Bolden Speaks for Herself, Others” Atlanta Journal and Constitution, November 21, 1976, 14–G.[]
  17. Ibid.[]
  18. Lars Christiansen, “The Making of a Civil Rights Union: The National Domestic Workers Union of America” (PhD diss., Florida State University, 1999).[]
  19. Council of Neighborhood Organizations Directory, 1961–1962, 1961, Andrew Young Papers, Auburn Avenue Research Library, Atlanta.[]
  20. Perry Homes Tenant Newspaper, 1956, Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records.[]
  21. Floyd A. Hunter, Community Power Structure: A Study of Decision Makers (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1953).[]
  22. Program for the Dedication of Perry Homes Community Center, 1958, Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records.[]
  23. Ibid.[]
  24. Notes from the Perry Homes Tenant Association, undated, Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records.[]
  25. Atlanta Housing Authority Annual Report, 1961, Organizational Records, Atlanta Housing Authority Archives.[]
  26. 20th Atlanta Housing Authority Annual Report, 1958, Organizational Records, Atlanta Housing Authority Archives.[]
  27. Perry Homes Monthly Newsletter, 1957, Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records.[]
  28. 23rd Atlanta Housing Authority Annual Report, 1961, Organizational Records, Atlanta Housing Authority Archives.[]
  29. Ibid.[]
  30. 25th Atlanta Housing Authority Annual Report, 1963, Organizational Records, Atlanta Housing Authority Archives.[]
  31. Report on Meeting for the Northwest, 1967, Atlanta Commission on Community Relations Papers.[]
  32. Notes from the Perry Homes Tenant Association, undated, Herman E. Perry Homes and West Highlands at Perry Boulevard Records.[]
  33. Atlanta did not experience the urban uprisings that were common in majority-Black cities in the years immediately following the passage of the Civil Rights Act (CRA). As Black working-class residents in U.S. cities resisted against decades of urban wage theft, residential and labor market discrimination, police brutality, and other forms of spatial marginalization, the structure of Black-white cooperation in Atlanta foreclosed direct action and protest as popular and accessible mechanisms of Black political expression. These urban rebellions differed from those at the start of the twentieth century, which were largely around the distribution and accessibility of public spaces and goods between white and Black residents during the Great Migration. The post-CRA conflicts were instead between Black residents and the police, or the state. Summerhill, a Black working-class neighborhood just southeast of downtown, was the site of the only major conflict between Black residents and police in this era of commodity uprisings. Police officers shot Harold Prather during pursuit over a car theft, and within hours a crowd gathered to protest. Mayor Ivan Allen and representatives from the Black clergy came to placate the crowd but were promptly outnumbered. Black and white elites condemned Black activists (including members of the Student National Coordinating Committee) for causing the riot. In reality, participants threw some rocks at police and officials and had dispersed within hours.[]
  34. Garry Chuse, “Relations Commission Ousts Eliza Paschall; Underhanded Move to Sustain Racism,” Great Speckled Bird 1, no. 1, March 15–28, 1968.[]
  35. Dennis Goldstein, “TUFF,” Great Speckled Bird 2, no. 21, August 4, 1969.[]
  36. Tenant Bill of Rights, 1969, Atlanta Urban League Papers, Auburn Avenue Research Library Archives.[]