Closer Look: Remembering Civil Rights Leader Dr. Lonnie King Jr. And The Atlanta Student Movement

Civil Rights leader Dr. Lonnie King Jr.
Civil Rights leader Dr. Lonnie King Jr.
Credit Courtesy of Yvonne Boyd

Wednesday on “Closer Look with Rose Scott”:

In 1960 students from the Atlanta University Center staged a series of sit-ins and demonstrations around Georgia to protest segregation. Their efforts would become known as the Atlanta Student Movement. Dr. Lonnie King was a founding member of the Atlanta Student Movement and yesterday, at the age of 82, he died. Today, in a special edition of Closer Look we remember the life and legacy of King and the Atlanta Student Movement.

  • 0:00: First, we remember Dr. Lonnie King in his own words. The Civil Rights icon reflects on his childhood growing up in the rural community of Arlington, Georgia to his efforts that would lead him to become one of the founders of the Atlanta Student Movement.
  • 16:27: On Oct. 19, 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and dozens of student activists staged a sit-in at Rich’s lunch counter in Atlanta. He, and others, were arrested. Now, the work of Dr. King and leaders from the Atlanta Student Movement is being documented through an oral history project at Kennesaw State University. On the 58th anniversary of the Rich’s lunch counter sit-in, we look back on that day in the Civil Rights Movement with Atlanta Student Movement members Charles Black, Morris Dillard, Dr. Lonnie King, Dr. Gwendolyn Middlebrooks, Professor Emerita of Spelman College, and Dr. Roslyn Pope.
    The oral history project, led by its director Dr. Jeanne Bohannon, is titled “The Atlanta Student Movement Project” It’s part of multi-year grant KSU received from the Rich Foundation. The project aims to uncover, and preserve, the history of the Atlanta Student Movement as well as educate the next generation through curriculum for high school students. More information can be found here.
Atlanta Student Movement members Charles Black, Dr. Gwendolyn Middlebrooks, Dr. Roslyn Pope and Morris Dillard look back on the sit-in at Rich’s lunch counter in Atlanta. Credit: Emilia Brock

Note: If you or someone you know has a story about the Atlanta Student Movement they’d like to share and record, please contact Jeanne Law Bohannon by email,, or phone at 470-578-7380.

Closer Look is produced by Candace Wheeler and Grace Walker.