Atlanta's "Berlin Wall" built to keep black residents out of all-white community

Source: WGCL

Back in December, 1962, Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. ordered barricades to be built across two Atlanta streets to discourage black citizens from purchasing homes in an adjacent all-white neighborhood.

The wall was intended to separate white and black sections of Peyton and Harlan Roads in Atlanta. The mayor thought it would be a quick fix for the racial tensions within the community.

CEO of Preserve Black Atlanta Karcheik Sims' Alvarado said, "It was a very short barricade, about 3 feet high, made out of metal and wood. In fact, all you had to do to cross it was step over it, so I'm not sure how much of a barrier it would have served in regards to preventing communities from integrating."

African-Americans in the community were outraged. Petitions were filed in Atlanta’s courts and after 72 days of being up it was taken down.

March 1, 1963, a judge ruled the barriers unconstitutional. The mayor had the wall removed within minutes of the decision.

"African Americans felt victorious, that they were able to remove the barricade," says Sims'Alvarado. "It taints the image that Atlanta tried to brand itself as the city too busy to hate."

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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