Ivan Allen and the Atlanta Wall Controversy

In 1962, the city of Atlanta, under the supervision of Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., put up a controversial wall to separate the black and white neighborhoods at Peyton and Harlan roads. The controversy began when Dr. Clinton Warner, a black physician, bought a house within the all-white subdivision of Payton Forest, stoking white fears of falling property values and racial unrest. The white homeowners wrote a report to Mayor Allen asking him to build a physical separation between black and white residential areas, claiming that the wall would be mutually beneficial. Coming only one year after the much criticized Berlin wall, the Atlanta Wall too drew criticism from activists, students, and voters alike. The wall stood for approximately a year before a lawsuit against it went to court where it was ruled unconstitutional. This exhibit traces the wall from its original conception to its ultimate demise at the hands of the court ruling by using various documents (1962-1963) from the Ivan Allen Digital Archive. Each of this exhibit’s subpages help illuminate different aspects of the controversy by drawing directly from the archival documents. Visitors can explore the exhibit by clicking the subpages to the right.

All exhibit text by Mario Bianchini


Ronald Bayor, Mario Bianchini, Chris Long, Todd Michney