Archives of the Atlanta Housing Authority

By Meredith E. Torre

Since the 1930s, the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) has been one of the leading public housing authorities in the nation, providing affordable housing for many low-income families in the city of Atlanta. Today, AHA is the largest public housing authority in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, serving more than 50,000 people to provide quality affordable housing in amenity-rich, mixed-income communities for the betterment of the community.

Charles F. Palmer (1892-1973), AHA’s First Chairman. This bust is part of the Charles Forrest papers at AHA. Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.
Charles F. Palmer (1892-1973), AHA’s First Chairman. This bust is part of the Charles Forrest papers at AHA. Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.

The Atlanta City Council created the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) on May 18, 1938, and AHA’s first meeting of its Board of Commissioners, which consisted of five members, was held June 11, 1938. Charles F. Palmer, an Atlanta real estate developer, was appointed the first chairman of the board. Prior to the creation of AHA, Palmer and Dr. John Hope, an influential African-American educator and pivotal leader in the Civil Rights movement, worked closely together to find a solution to end slum housing in Atlanta. In October 1933, their efforts to convince the Roosevelt Administration were successful, culminating in  the federal government approval of funding for the construction of the first two public housing developments in the United States: Techwood Homes, adjacent to Georgia Tech, and University Homes, adjacent to the Atlanta University Center.

The mission of the AHA Archives is to preserve and provide permanent and historical materials. Materials are appropriately housed in a monitored environment. Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.
The mission of the AHA Archives is to preserve and provide permanent and historical materials. Materials are appropriately housed in a monitored environment. Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.

The AHA Archives was created with the mission to preserve and provide permanent and historical materials that will assist in the operations of AHA; to promote AHA’s knowledge and understanding of the origins, functions, programs and goals of AHA; and to collect archival materials that tell the story of AHA.

A variety of records, artifacts, moving images and more than 14,000 photographs dating from the early 1930s document AHA’s unique history. AHA’s collections’ strengths include records concerning the history of public housing, especially rich collections documenting our work with communities and AHA’s involvement with important public figures who helped shape the story of public housing in Atlanta, such as President Roosevelt, President Jimmy Carter, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Recipes, special events, and political and civil rights commentary--Tenant newsletters such as these issues of The TAB: Voice of University Homes, reveal important historical aspects of an early public housing community. University Homes, the sister project of Techwood, was the first federally planned public housing project for African Americans. AHA assumed management of Techwood and University Homes in 1940. Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.
Recipes, special events, and political and civil rights commentary–Tenant newsletters such as these issues of The TAB: Voice of University Homes, reveal important historical aspects of an early public housing community. University Homes, the sister project of Techwood, was the first federally planned public housing project for African Americans. AHA assumed management of Techwood and University Homes in 1940. Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.

Although the AHA Archives exist primarily with the mission of assisting the internal operations of its parent organization, the archives does occasionally receive and accommodate requests from the public. The archives also works cooperatively with other departments to assist the agency in public outreach initiatives and to help to tell AHA’s story.

AHA has nearly 14,000 scanned images. This one depicts the annual carnival held at Techwood-Clark Howell Homes, 1940-1949. As a result of changes in the national and local policies during the war, approximately one third of the families residing in the AHA’s projects were veterans and their families. (AHA 2013.00295). Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.
AHA has nearly 14,000 scanned images. This one depicts the annual carnival held at Techwood-Clark Howell Homes, 1940-1949. As a result of changes in the national and local policies during the war, approximately one third of the families residing in the AHA’s projects were veterans and their families. (AHA 2013.00295). Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.

 

In 2015, Archivist Meredith Torre and Archival Assistant Jessie Hopper hosted an archives exhibit for the agency. The exhibit was considered highly successful and offered AHA employees an opportunity to celebrate AHA’s history and to learn about a variety of items held in the archives. Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.
In 2015, Archivist Meredith Torre and Archival Assistant Jessie Hopper hosted an archives exhibit for the agency. The exhibit was considered highly successful and offered AHA employees an opportunity to celebrate AHA’s history and to learn about a variety of items held in the archives. Image courtesy of Atlanta Housing Authority.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s