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Fri, 07.26.1901

John Atkinson, Park Superintendant born.

John Atkinson & Family

*John Atkinson was born on this date in 1901. He was a Black plasterer, Jeweler, Watch Repair, Small Appliance Repair, and owner of The Dew Drop Inn in Atlanta, Georgia. 

From Crawfordville, Georgia, John Lloyd Atkinson was the son of George William Atkinson and Emma Louise Edwards Atkinson. He received his first Schooling from his father, the first certified Teacher in Taliaferro County, Georgia. Additional Schooling took night courses at Booker T. Washington High School, Atlanta, Georgia.

He served in the military in 1942 and 1943—with discharge papers signed by Major Noel Parish from Tuskegee Army Airfield. Shortly before joining the army, Atkinson bought a property in Atlanta and built a house, only to be barred from moving in because of Jim Crow redlining for two years.

The police told him that he had made his home on a 'white block' and could not move into it, and he was persuaded to join the military. Upon learning about the Hansberry v. Lee court case, Atkinson filed suit against the city. The lawsuit was settled out of court when mayor William B. Hartsfield told him that the racial system in Atlanta would be abolished if he dropped his claim. 

Atkinson created the George Washington Carver State Park in Georgia in 1950. After military service, Atkinson became the first Black Park Superintendent in Georgia. He remained in this position until 1958, bringing Ray Charles, Little Richard, and others to visit and perform. Also, Ebenezer Baptist Church held many weekend outings at the park. 

John Atkinson, Park Superintendent and World War II veteran, died on June 08, 1972.

Reference:

WBHF Radio.org

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