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Long, Rucker, and Aiken family papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS468

Scope and Content

The collection contains papers from the political, civic, educational, professional, family, and social lives of the Long, Rucker, and Aiken families, prominent African American families in Atlanta, Georgia. There are documents from Jefferson Long's congretional career. From Henry Rucker and the Rucker family there is documentation of their social life, businesses, family finances, land and estate management, court cases, and Henry Rucker’s political career in the Republican Party. Rucker papers include correspondence, scrapbooks, writings, clippings, deeds, receipts, stock certificates, promissory notes, and wills. Papers from Walter Aiken and the Aiken family document their social lives, education, and military careers. There are business, legal, and political documents, as well as correspondence from Walter Aiken’s work as a coach and sports promoter at Atlanta University. The collection also contains material pertaining to African American organizations such as the Georgia Colored Industrial and Orphan’s Home, the Negro Young People’s Christian Association, the Butler Street YMCA, freemason lodges, the First Congregational Church, the Atlanta Negro Voters League, the Urban League, and the Negro Business League. Of particular note are documents about Black housing and housing inequity, the Atlanta reunion of the 371st Infantry, and a diary written by Hazel E. Rucker.


  • 1810-1988, undated


Conditions Governing Access

The 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Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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

Jefferson Franklin Long (1836-1901) was born enslaved in Crawford County, Georgia, and became a successful merchant-tailor in Macon, Georgia. He married Lucinda Carhart (1845-1919), and they had five children, including Annie Eunice (1865-1933). In 1870, Long became the first African American elected to represent Georgia in the United States Congress during Reconstruction. He is buried in Macon, Georgia, at Linwood Cemetery. Annie Eunice Long attended Scotia Seminary in Concord, North Carolina, and married Henry Allen Rucker (1852-1924).

Henry Rucker was born enslaved to the King family of Athens, Georgia. Following the Civil War, he opened a barber shop on Decatur Street in Atlanta. Rucker attended Storrs Night School and Atlanta University Academy. In the 1870s, he served in Jackson McHenry’s Black militia company. He also taught in Atlanta Public Schools before becoming a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, in 1880. He served as a clerk in the Internal Revenue Services collector’s office in Atlanta between 1880-1885 and 1889-1893. In 1896, President William McKinley (1843-1901) appointed him Collector of Internal Revenue Service for the District of Georgia; he was the only African American to receive such an appointment. He served in the position until 1910. Rucker was active in the Niagara Movement and the NAACP.

Annie and Henry Rucker had eight children: Henry Jr. (1891-1931), Elizabeth "Bessie" (1890-1931), Lucy Lorene (1894-1992), Jefferson (1896-1983), India "Neddie" (1897-1972), Hazel (1899-1882), Alice (1901-1988), and Ann L. (1907-1977). The family resided on Piedmont Avenue. Bessie Rucker attended Fisk University and in 1916 married Dr. John Wesley Davis (1888-1980), later President of West Virginia State College. They had two daughters, Constance "Dit" (1917-1970) and Dorothy "Dot" Long (1919-2006).

Ann Rucker attended Atlanta University and Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. She served as a librarian at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Auburn Avenue branch of the Carnegie Library in Atlanta. In 1939 she married Charles W. Anderson Jr. (1905-?) of Louisville, Kentucky.

In 1920, Lucy Rucker married Walter Henry “Chief” Aiken (1893-1965). Aiken, born in Dover, Delaware, attended Hampton Institute, and worked as a football coach at Fisk University and at Atlanta University and Clark College. In addition, Aiken was an architect and engineer whose Atlanta projects include West Lake Court Apartments, the women’s dormitory at Morris Brown College, residences in the Hunter Street-Washington Park subdivision, the Waluhaje Hotel and Apartments, along with other subdivisions, residences, and facilities.


11.68 linear ft. (sixteen document cases, six half document cases, and two oversize boxes)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged into three series: Series I: Jefferson Long papers; Series II: Henry Rucker and Rucker family papers; and Series III: Walter Aiken and Aiken family papers. Series II is arranged into four subseries: Subseries 1: Henry Rucker papers; Subseries 2: Fraternal association records; Subseries 3: Legal papers; and Subseries 4: Political records. Series III is divided into 10 subseries; Subseries 1: Aiken family papers; Subseries 2: Aiken family business records; Subseries 3: Legal documents; Subseries 4: Political papers and records; Subseries 5: Military documents; Subseries 6: Sports papers; Subseries 7: Alumni and college associations; Subseries 8: Fraternal associations; Subseries 9: Business associations; and Subseries 10: Other Aiken papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1980, with subsequent additions

Existence and Location of Copies

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

Related Materials

Long-Rucker-Aiken family photographs, VIS 32, Kenan Research Center, Atlanta History Center

Bias in Description

As archivists, we acknowledge our role as stewards of information. We choose how individuals and organizations are represented and described in our archives. We are not neutral, and bias is reflected in our descriptions, which may not accurately convey the racist or offensive aspects of collection materials. Archivists make mistakes and might use poor judgment. In working with this collection, we often re-use language used by the former owners of the material. This language provides context but often includes bias and prejudices reflective of the time in which it was created. The Kenan Research Center’s work is ongoing to implement reparative language where Library of Congress subject terms are inaccurate and obsolete.

Kenan Research Center welcomes feedback and questions regarding our archival descriptions. If you encounter harmful, offensive, or insensitive terminology or descriptions, please let us know by emailing Your comments are essential to our work to create inclusive and thoughtful description.

Description Control

Collection reprocessed in 2008, and the description was updated in 2023.

Long, Rucker, and Aiken family papers
Inventory prepared by Mike Brubaker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305