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John Wesley Dobbs letter to Roy D. McClain

Collection number: ahc.MSS960f

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a letter written by John Wesley Dobbs on Prince Hall Grand Lodge stationary to Rev. Roy D. McClain. In the letter, Dobbs contests McClain’s sermons that promote racial segregation and limiting African Americans' access to higher education. Dobbs uses the Bible to argue that Black's should have access to higher education not only because they are Americans, but because it would help improve the country's economy and progress. He also contends that integration is a display of civic duty and patriotism.


  • 1956


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Biographical / Historical

John Wesley Dobbs (1882-1961) was a political leader and civil rights activist. He was born in Marietta, Georgia, to William Dobbs (1847-1931) and Minnie Millicent Hendrix (1862-1937). Dobbs earned a high school diploma in 1901 from Atlanta Baptist College (later Morehouse College). In 1903 he passed a civil service exam, after which he worked as a mail clerk for 32 years. In 1906 he married Irene Ophelia Thompson (1885-1972), and they had six daughters: Dr. Irene “Renie” Dobbs Jackson (1908-1999), Willie Dobbs Blackburn (1910-2011), Millicent Dobbs Jordan (1911-1991), Josephine Dobbs Clement (1918-1998), Mattiwilda “Geekie” Dobbs Janzon (1925-2015), and Dr. June Dobbs Butts (1928-2019).

In 1949, he and A. T. Walden founded the Atlanta Negro Voters League. Dobbs was also a sponsor of the National Negro Business League, Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons from 1932-1961, vice-chairman of the Georgia State Central Committee of the Republican Party (NAACP), and national vice-president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. John Wesley Dobbs' grandson, Maynard Jackson, was elected Mayor of Atlanta in 1973 and 1977, becoming the city's first Black mayor. He was elected for a third term in 1990.


1 folder(s)



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, 2021

Bias in Description

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Content Advisory

This collection contains original unedited versions of all content. Some material may contain depictions of violence, offensive language, or negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. There may be instances of racist language and depictions, particularly regarding African Americans. These items are presented as part of the historical record for the purpose of education and research. The viewpoints expressed in this collection do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the Atlanta History Center or any of its officers, agents, employees, or volunteers.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2022.

John Wesley Dobbs letter to Roy D. McClain
Britny Davis
September 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305