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Atlanta Education Association records

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Atlanta Education Association:

A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library

Georgia State University
Georgia State University
Special Collections and Archives
100 Decatur St., SE
Atlanta, GA 30303-3202
Fax: 404-413-2881

June 2001

Profile Description

Creation: Text converted and initial EAD tagging provided by Apex Data Services, June 2001.
Language: English

Collection Summary

Repository: Georgia State University Library, Special Collections and Archives, Atlanta
Creator: Atlanta Education Association
Title: Atlanta Education Association records
Dates: 1905-1971
Quantity: 25.5 linear feet
Abstract:Atlanta Education Association (AEA) records, 1905-1971, consists of records of the Atlanta Education Association (AEA) and its predecessor organization, the Atlanta Public School Teachers Association (APSTA). The bulk of the records (1905-1967) relate to the APSTA while materials after 1967 pertain to the AEA. Includes correspondence, minutes, financial documents, committee files and printed materials. The records document the APSTA's and AEA's relationship with the Georgia Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the Atlanta Board of Education while illustrating the development and progress of labor and education in Atlanta.
Identification: L1975-31

Organization of the Records

Part I, Series 1: Correspondence, 1919-1971
Part I, Series 2: Financial Documents, 1918-1971
Part I, Series 3: Legal Documents, 1927-1970
Part I, Series 4: Minutes, 1905-1970
Part I, Series 5: Printed Material, 1911; 1919-1971
Part II, Series 1: Correspondence, 1961-1970
Part II, Series 2: Financial Documents, 1920-1970

Scope and Content of the Records

The "History of Organization" reveals that the Atlanta Education Association had several names during the period covered by these records, and that it was for thirty-seven years a local union affiliated through the American Federation of Teachers with the American Federation of Labor, the Atlanta Federation of Trades, and the Georgia Federation of Labor. Since the adoption of its present name in 1967, however, the Atlanta Education Association has been affiliated with the National Education Association and the Georgia Education Association.

These Records, therefore, primarily document the activities of the APSTA from 1918 to its demise in 1956. The files which span the years 1957 to 1970, likewise, reflect the activities of the Atlanta Teachers Association and then, beginning in 1967, the Atlanta Education Association.

The Records are organized into Parts I and II. Part I is the larger of the two parts and consists of five record series. Part II consists of two record series. The Records are completed by a small amount of oversized material and some photographs. Pamphlets, periodicals, bylaws, and proceedings included in the Records have been filed with like material in the department's Printed Collections. The seven record series, the oversized items, and the photographs are described separately on the following pages, while the items housed in the Printed Collections are only summarized.

History of the Atlanta Education Association/Atlanta Public School Teachers Association

The Atlanta Education Association began its existence in 1905 as the Atlanta Public School Teachers Association. The APSTA was an independent association devoted to raising the salaries and improving the working conditions of the teachers, principals, and other staff members in the schools for white students in Atlanta's segregated school system. (The Gate City Teachers Association served the same purpose for Atlanta's black teachers.) In 1919, the APSTA became Local 89 of the American Federation of Teachers, a national organization affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. The APSTA also affiliated with the Atlanta Federation of Trades and the Georgia Federation of Labor. Mary Barker served as President of Local 89 from 1921 to 1923, and then served as President of the American Federation of Teachers from 1925 to 1931.

In 1956, the American Federation of Teachers threatened to expel Local 89 if the local did not remove the word "white" from its constitution and begin merger talks with the Gate City Teachers Association, which was also affiliated with the AFT. Local 89 President Roger Derthick represented the local at the 1956 AFT convention in Pittsburgh. Derthick explained to the convention delegates that Local 89 was not opposed to admitting black teachers into its ranks, but would not and could not do so until the state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta made integrated organizations legally possible. In late 1956, consequently, Local 89, facing certain expulsion from the AFT, surrendered its charter as a constituent member of the AFT. Local 89 did, however, continue as an affiliate of the Atlanta Federation of Trades and the Georgia Federation of Labor, both of which continued to be composed of white and black members but organized into segregated local unions.

In 1959, the once-again independent APSTA began paying per capita dues on a voluntary basis to the Georgia Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association. The NEA was not associated with the American Federation of Labor and had always represented itself to America's teachers as a professional organization for teachers as opposed to the more trade union approach of the AFT. In 1966, the APSTA (now usually referred to as the Atlanta Teachers Association) removed the "whites only" provision from its constitution and began merger discussions with its counterpart organization for Atlanta's black teachers. In June of 1967, the successfully integrated organization was renamed the Atlanta Education Association and officially affiliated with the National Education Association.

(Note: In 1970 the American Federation of Teachers issued a charter to a new local union in Atlanta. This new labor union affiliated organization for teachers, AFT Local 1565, has since 1970 competed with the Atlanta Education Association for the right to represent Atlanta's teachers before the Atlanta Board of Education and the Atlanta City Council.)

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Georgia State University Library online catalog (GIL). Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

American Federation of Teachers.
Atlanta (Ga.) Board of Education.
Atlanta Public School Teachers Association.
Georgia Education Association.
National Education Association of the United States
Public schools--Georgia--Atlanta.
Teachers' unions--Georgia--Atlanta.
Atlanta (Ga.)--Labor--Trade-unions.


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Administrative Information


[item], [folder title], [series title], Atlanta Education Association Records, L1975-31, Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Separated Material

Separated material: During processing, oversize records, photographic material, and printed material was separated to other Southern Labor Archives collections. See List of Separated Material following Detailed Description of the Collection.

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