Browse Exhibits (4 total)

Letters to the Mayor: Fans, Cranks, Voters, and Nazis

The mayor of any city is supposed to represent the entire population. They are the figurehead of the city, the symbol of the population united. Many of the people who vote for a mayor will see something of themselves in the candidate. Invariably, however, some will not.

Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. was no different than any other mayor in this regard. Some citizens of Atlanta were overjoyed at his election, others indifferent, some outright hostile. Regardless of opinion, some denizens of Atlanta felt the need to voice their feelings directly to the top. During his time in office, Mayor Allen received a large number of letters, telegrams, and postcards from citizens of all stripes. These letters range from irate to laudatory, from vulgar to articulate. While some were direct responses to political events (such as the construction of the Atlanta Wall), others were more general. This exhibit shows the range of quality of these letters and thereby offers a unique window into some of the people who made up Atlanta at the time. Click on the pages to explore the differing opinions of Atlanta’s population under the leadership of Mayor Ivan Allen Jr.

All exhibit text by: Mario Bianchini

Contour of the Times

A selection of items from the archive that demonstrate key themes from Ivan Allen Jr's time as Mayor of Atlanta, 1962-1970.

Planned Parenthood

Items related to Ivan Allen's support of Planned Parenthood. Includes an Urban League Education Plan.

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

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