Austin T. Walden papers
Collection number: ahc.MSS614
Scope and Content
This collection consists of personal and professional papers of Austin T. Walden. The papers are primarily office files and case briefs from his law career. Additional material includes correspondence, financial papers, membership information, political campaign documents, speeches, and marketing and outreach material from various organizations. The collection contains materials from the many organizations to which Walden belonged or defended in court, such as the NAACP, the Atlanta Negro Voters League, the Georgia Association of Citizens' Democratic Clubs, the Atlanta Urban League, and the Gate City Bar Association. Papers related to family, property, and social activities are also included in this collection.
- 1900-1969, undated
- Walden, A. T. (Austin Thomas) (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.
Austin Thomas "A.T." Walden (1885-1965) was born in Fort Valley, Georgia, to Jefferson Walden (1861-1923) and Jennie Tomlin Walden (1857-1954). He attended Fort Valley Industrial School, Atlanta University, and the University of Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1911. He began his law practice in Macon, Georgia, in 1912. When the Untied States entered World War I, he joined the armed forces as a captain, later commanded Company I of the 365th Infantry, and acted as assistant Judge Advocate in his division. In 1918 Walden married Mary Ellen Denney (1890-1975) and they had two daughters, Jennisina Holloway (1921-?) and Austella Colley (1923-2014). He was honorably discharged in 1919 and moved to Atlanta where he became a noted attorney, civil rights leader, and civic leader. He founded the Gate City Bar Association for African American lawyers in Atlanta, was a member of the National, American, and Atlanta Bar Associations, and served as counsel to the National Baptist Convention for twelve years. In 1964 Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. (1911-2003) appointed him to serve as an Alternative Judge of the Municipal Courts of Atlanta, the first such appointment since Reconstruction.
Walden's leadership in the Civil Rights Movement included association with such organizations as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also worked on many lawsuits to desegregate schools, such as Atlanta Public Schools and the University of Georgia. Walden was the co-founder of the Atlanta Negro Voters League and served as an officer in many civic organizations, including the Butler Street Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), the Atlanta Urban League, and the Atlanta Civil Liberties Committee. A longtime member of the Democratic Party, Walden served as the co-chairman of the Georgia Association for Citizens' Democratic Clubs and became the first African American to be elected for membership in the State Democratic Committee. During the 1964 Democratic National Convention, he was the first African American delegate sent from Georgia. President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) appointed him to the American Battle Monuments Commission.
In addition to his political and legal work, Walden was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Kappa Boule). He served as Grand Chancellor of Knights of Pythias of Georgia and Supreme Master of Exchequer of Supreme Lodge of Knights of Pythias. Additionally, he was chairman of the Trustee Board of Wheat Street Baptist Church for forty years. He received an honorary degree from Atlanta University and from Morehouse College. Before his death on July 2, 1965, he was named "one of the most outstanding living alumni" of Atlanta University.
16.69 linear ft. (33 document cases and 14 half document cases)
System of Arrangement
This collection is arranged in thirteen series. Series I: Office files; Series II: Correspondence and personal papers; Series III: Railroad, educational, and other cases; Series IV: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Series V: Atlanta Civil Liberties Committee and American Civil Liberties Union; Series VI: Gate City Bar Association; Series VII: Voters leagues; Series VIII: Democratic affiliations; Series IX: Atlanta City Executive Commission; Series X: Atlanta Urban League, Community Chest, and Butler Street YMCA; Series XI: Social and civil rights; Series XII: National Baptist Convention; Series XIII: Knights of Pythias.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Existence and Location of Copies
This collection has been digitized and is on the database African American Communities, available in the Kenan Research Center.
This collection was processed in 2019.
- Abstracts of title -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Allen, Ivan, 1911-2003
- American Civil Liberties Union
- American poetry
- Atlanta (Ga.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century
- Atlanta (Ga.). City Executive Committee
- Atlanta Civil Liberties Committee
- Atlanta History Center
- Atlanta Negro Voters League
- Atlanta University
- Atlanta Urban League
- Bankruptcy -- Georgia
- Business records -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Butler Street YMCA (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Campaign paraphernalia
- Civil rights -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Democratic Party (Ga.)
- Elections -- Georgia
- Evers, Medgar Wiley, 1925-1963
- Financial statements -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Gate City Bar Association (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Georgia Association of Citizens Democratic Club
- Georgia Voters League
- Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
- Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald)
- Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968
- Knights of Pythias. Uniform Lodge (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Law -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Law firms -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Legal instruments -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- National Baptist Convention of the United States of America
- National Baptist Convention of the United States of America. Sunday School Publishing Board
- National Bar Association
- Political campaigns -- Georgia
- Segregation -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Segregation in education -- Georgia
- Social justice -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Southern Christian Leadership Conference
- Southern Regional Council
- Southwest Bar Association
- Speeches, addresses, etc. -- Georgia
- Voting -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- YMCA of Metro Atlanta
- Zoning -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Austin T. Walden papers
- Josh Hogan
- January 2015
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Finding aid is written in English.