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Recollections of Atlanta's black history

1) In 1854, Atlanta City Council allowed a slave named Ransom Montgomery to sell coffee cakes in the passenger train depot. He later saved the lives of more than 100 passengers on a train crossing a burning bridge over the Chattahoochee River. For that act, he was given his freedom.

2) In July 1856, an African-American woman named Mary Combs purchased property on the corner of what is now Peachtree Street and Auburn Avenue for $250. Six years later, Combs sold the property for $500.

3) In 1870, when Atlanta University launched its second term, the school enrolled so many students that five students lived in each dorm room.

4) Actress/singer Lena Horne attended Booker T. Washington High School for a couple of years in the 1920s.

5) Atlanta was the home of the first black middleweight boxing champion, Theodore "Tiger" Flowers. In 1926, Flowers built a 20-room Italianate stucco mansion on Simpson Street that included an electric dishwasher and parquet floors. In the early 1960s, the house was demolished to build Fire Station No. 16.

6) At the premiere of Gone with the Wind, held at Loew's Grand Theater in 1939, Hattie McDaniel -- who would later win an Oscar for her performance -- wasn't allowed to attend.

7) The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was quite the jitterbug dancer. He earned the nickname "Tweed" in the 1940s because he wore thick tweed jackets to dances at Morehouse College.

8) In 1948, the first eight policemen who integrated the Atlanta Police Department weren't allowed to carry guns or arrest white people.

9) The popular dance the Twist was conceived in Atlanta when Hank Ballard performed the song at the Dinkler Hotel in 1958.

10) The Waluhaje, which would later become the Clark Atlanta University Aiken Conference Center, was the first integrated jazz venue in Atlanta. It was named after the first two letters of the building's owners: Walter, Lucy, Hazel and Jenny.



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