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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


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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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.

Administrative/Biographical History

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.

Administrative/Biographical History

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.

Administrative/Biographical History

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

Gift, 1988

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection has been digitized and is on the database African American Communities, available in the Kenan Research Center.

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2019.

Austin T. Walden papers
Josh Hogan
January 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305