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The rich history of Georgia’s black legislators is currently on display in an exhibit at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in downtown Atlanta.

The exhibition, “Remembering Our Legends and Honoring Our Torchbearers,” features an extensive collection, from rare artifacts from the 19th century to documents from the civil rights era, as well as recorded interviews with current lawmakers.

The exhibit includes the first black men elected to the Georgia legislature in 1868, but were prohibited from taking office because of their race.

The exhibit, which was spearheaded by the Azalea City Chapter of The Links Inc., also pays tribute to Senator Leroy Johnson, who was the first African-American to serve in the Georgia Assembly since Reconstruction. He served from 1963 until 1975.

It also highlights the work of Grace Towns Hamilton, the first black woman elected to the Georgia Assembly.

The exhibit also tells the story of 33 African-American legislators who were expelled from the Georgia Legislature in 1868 and later reinstated in 1870 by an Act of Congress.

Materials for the exhibit were donated by members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus (GLBC).

Black elected officials serving in the Georgia General Assembly today include Carolyn Hugley, Stacey Abrams and Calvin Smyre.

Read the full story at The Grio.


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