Photo caption: Students in the college’s CREATE teacher residency program stop for a photo in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn Historic District as part of the Ella Baker-Lugenia Hope-Septima Clark Summer Institute.
story by Claire Miller
Alonzo Franklin Herndon was born into slavery in 1858 but over the course of his life, he became a successful entrepreneur and businessman in Atlanta. He was one of the first black millionaires in the U.S. and established the Atlanta Life Insurance Company in the city’s Sweet Auburn Historic District.
“I have walked from Georgia State University’s Centennial Hall to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and saw many buildings still standing on Auburn Avenue that show the historical businesses that serviced the black community,” said Jacquelyn Allen, a student in the College of Education & Human Development’s Collaboration and Reflection to Enhance Atlanta Teacher Effectiveness (CREATE) teacher residency program.
This summer, Allen and other students in the CREATE teacher residency program toured Auburn Avenue as part of the Ella Baker-Lugenia Hope-Septima Clark Summer Institute, named after three important yet often overlooked black women who organized and advocated for social change in Atlanta and throughout the South.
The four-day institute was designed by Clinical Associate Professor Rhina Williams in the college’s Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education; Clinical Associate Professor Chantee Earl and Clinical Assistant Professor Jacob Hackett from the Department of Middle and Secondary Education; Ayinde Summers from Project South; and Forrest Evans at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. It gave participants a deeper understanding of community organizing and social justice movements in the metro area.
Participants also met with Allison Bantima and Kera Lamotte, founders of Fulton County Remembrance Coalition, a volunteer community organization dedicated to remembering and honoring the victims of lynching, and created an interactive timeline that highlighted their personal experiences with racial injustice and how those fit into the history of oppression and activism in the city.
“The history of African Americans in Atlanta shows they were successful business people and advocates for social justice,” Allen said. “This is a part of history that is not well known, and I have new information I can pass onto my future students.”
Jacob Hackett, clinical assistant professor and CREATE faculty member, is excited to see CREATE students like Allen learn often-overlooked details about Atlanta’s history that they can incorporate into curriculum once they begin their teaching careers.
“Our goal is to center community collaboration, popular education and movement principles in the development of local educators,” he said. “We wanted to support the growing network of critically-conscious and community-centered educators and have educators participate in a critical curriculum that is designed using the principles of popular education and movement.”