New Exhibit Commemorates Historic Supreme Court Ruling on Golf Course Desegregation

Posted November 9, 2015

On Christmas Eve in 1955, Rev. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Alfred “Tup” Holmes, and Charles Bell made history when they became the first African-Americans to tee off at the North Fulton Golf Course. 

That round and one the next day at Bobby Jones Golf Course were only possible through the Supreme Court’s November 1955 Holmes v. Atlanta decision, a historic ruling that called for the racial desegregation of Atlanta’s public golf courses. “Holmes v. Atlanta: Changing the Game,” a new exhibit at the Bobby Jones Golf Course Clubhouse that opened on Nov. 7, commemorates the 60th anniversary of that decision and its enduring impact on desegregation rulings in Atlanta, the South, and the United States.

Holmes v. Atlanta: Changing the Game was researched and curated in partnership with the Sports, Society, and Technology program and the School of History and Sociology. The Ivan Allen College faculty and students behind the exhibit include Mary McDonald, the Homer Rice Chair in Sports and Society; Jennifer Sterling, a postdoctoral fellow working with the Sports, Society, and Technology program; Renee Shelby, a Ph.D. student in History and Sociology of Technology and Science; and History and Sociology students Anna Arnau, Ericka Brundage, and Hayden Gregg.

The exhibit retells the story behind the ruling and reflects upon its broader impact through images, public documents, and data visualizations. Holmes v. Atlanta followed the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down the legality of “separate but equal” state education laws, and the decision was among the first cases to extend this precedent beyond education into other public accommodations.

Holmes v. Atlanta: Changing the Game will run through the spring daily between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

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Rebecca Keane

Director of Communications