Holmes v. Atlanta: Changing the Game Exhibit

Posted by Admin On 12:20:00 PM
“Holmes v. Atlanta: Changing the Game”
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 7 11am-2pm
The exhibition will run through the spring daily between 8 am and 6 pm
Bobby Jones Golf Course Clubhouse

On November 7, 1955 the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Holmes v. Atlanta case, a ruling that called for the racial desegregation of Atlanta’s public golf courses. This exhibit, “Holmes v. Atlanta: Changing the Game,” commemorates the 60th anniversary of that decision. The plaintiffs in the case were members of a prominent Atlanta African American family: physician Hamilton M. Holmes, and his two sons, Reverend Oliver Wendell Holmes and Alfred F. “Tup” Holmes.

The spirit of the Supreme Court’s ruling followed their landmark 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education which overturned the legality of “separate but equal” state education laws. Holmes v. Atlanta was among the first cases to extend this precedent beyond education into other public accommodations and arguably had a more immediate impact. Fittingly, Oliver and Tup Holmes along with Charles Bell played the North Fulton golf course on December 24 and the Bobby Jones course on December 25, 1955 thus desegregating Atlanta public golf courses. As Atlanta historians Norman Shavin and Bruce Galpin observe, “the first scene of court-ordered desegregation in Georgia was a golf course and not a school house” further suggesting the case’s significance. This exhibition retells this story and shares the broader “game changing” impact of Holmes v. Atlanta.

This exhibition has been researched and created with the help of HSOC undergraduate students, Anna Arnau, Ericka Brundage, and Hayden Gregg. Special thanks to Jennifer Sterling and Renee Shelby for providing a great deal of labor and oversight for this project.

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School of History and Sociology
Georgia Institute of Technology
Old Civil Engineering Building
221 Bobby Dodd Way
Atlanta, GA 30332-0225