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H.O.P.E., INC. (Help Our Public Education) Records

Collection number: ahc.MSS427

Scope and Contents of the Records

The HOPE, Inc. records consist of correspondence, minutes, reports, and printed and published materials generated by the organization from 1958-1961. Also included are records from other allied organizations such as Active Voters, OASIS, Partners for Progress, and the League of Women Voters of Atlanta. The records are also comprised of correspondence, newsletters and mailings from segregationist groups, and a vast quantity of newspaper clippings which document the school closure crisis in Virginia, Arkansas, and Georgia. The clippings are drawn from Georgia newspapers including the Atlanta Journal, Atlanta Constitution, Northside Neighbor, Augusta Courier, Marietta Daily Journal, and Metropolitan Herald. Collectively, these present a reasonably complete background of school integration in the South from 1958-1961.


  • 1954-1961, undated


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

Administrative History

In 1954 the United States Supreme Court issued a decision (Brown v. Board of Education) which stated that segregation in public schools was inherently unequal and ordered desegregation “with all deliberate speed.” Southern legislatures, including the Georgia General Assembly, responded with laws which blocked state and local funding for public schools which desegregated. The conflict between federal and state laws created a crisis which led to the closing of public schools in parts of Virginia and Arkansas, and the threat of closure of schools in Georgia. In response, eighteen men and women in Atlanta chartered H.O.P.E., Inc. (Help Our Public Education) in December 1958. H.O.P..E was a nonprofit, largely-volunteer organization whose objective was to prevent the closing of public schools under any circumstances. Its founders included Muriel Lokey, Maxine Friedman, Bettye Harris, Frances Pauley (1905-2003), and attorneys Lanier Randall, James Dorsey, Harry Boyte, and Hamilton Lokey (1910-1996). Members of the organization conducted rallies, gave speeches, led group discussions, and prepared printed materials aimed at informing the public of the danger of closing the public schools. Although established in Atlanta, it became a statewide organization with chapters in Augusta, Athens, Columbus, Gainesville, Jonesboro, Macon, Marietta, Rome, and Savannah. The organization employed one paid staff member and was financed by contributions from supporters. Its operations were carried out by committees of volunteers in the areas of finance, public relations, legal, legislative, and state-wide organization. The pressure created by HOPE and allied organizations and individuals caused Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver to create a commission to study the problem. That commission was headed by widely-respected John Sibley (1888-1986). Ultimately, the “Sibley Report” was issued recommending the elimination of laws requiring the closure of public schools, if integrated. The Sibley recommendations, plus ever increasing pressure from alarmed citizens weakened the resolve of the Georgia politicians and Atlanta schools were integrated in the fall of 1961. The organization was disbanded shortly thereafter.


3 linear ft.



Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Hamilton Lokey (Muriel), 1979 (1979.317).

General Physical Description note

Extent: 3 linear ft. (6 document cases, 2 oversized boxes)

Processing Information

Collection reprocessed in 2008

An Inventory of Their Records at the Kenan Research Center of the Atlanta History Center
Inventory prepared by Paul Crater
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305