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Atlanta Education Association records

Identifier: L1975-31

Scope and Content of the Records

The "History of Organization" reveals that the Atlanta Education Association had several names during the period covered by these records, and that it was for thirty-seven years a local union affiliated through the American Federation of Teachers with the American Federation of Labor, the Atlanta Federation of Trades, and the Georgia Federation of Labor. Since the adoption of its present name in 1967, however, the Atlanta Education Association has been affiliated with the National Education Association and the Georgia Education Association.

These Records, therefore, primarily document the activities of the APSTA from 1918 to its demise in 1956. The files which span the years 1957 to 1970, likewise, reflect the activities of the Atlanta Teachers Association and then, beginning in 1967, the Atlanta Education Association.

The Records are organized into Parts I and II. Part I is the larger of the two parts and consists of five record series. Part II consists of two record series. The Records are completed by a small amount of oversized material and some photographs. Pamphlets, periodicals, bylaws, and proceedings included in the Records have been filed with like material in the department's Printed Collections. The seven record series, the oversized items, and the photographs are described separately on the following pages, while the items housed in the Printed Collections are only summarized.


  • Creation: 1905-1971


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

The oversized materials may be stored offsite. Allow at least 2 working days for retrieval.

History of the Atlanta Education Association/Atlanta Public School Teachers Association

The Atlanta Education Association began its existence in 1905 as the Atlanta Public School Teachers Association. The APSTA was an independent association devoted to raising the salaries and improving the working conditions of the teachers, principals, and other staff members in the schools for white students in Atlanta's segregated school system. (The Gate City Teachers Association served the same purpose for Atlanta's black teachers.) In 1919, the APSTA became Local 89 of the American Federation of Teachers, a national organization affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. The APSTA also affiliated with the Atlanta Federation of Trades and the Georgia Federation of Labor. Mary Barker served as President of Local 89 from 1921 to 1923, and then served as President of the American Federation of Teachers from 1925 to 1931.

In 1956, the American Federation of Teachers threatened to expel Local 89 if the local did not remove the word "white" from its constitution and begin merger talks with the Gate City Teachers Association, which was also affiliated with the AFT. Local 89 President Roger Derthick represented the local at the 1956 AFT convention in Pittsburgh. Derthick explained to the convention delegates that Local 89 was not opposed to admitting black teachers into its ranks, but would not and could not do so until the state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta made integrated organizations legally possible. In late 1956, consequently, Local 89, facing certain expulsion from the AFT, surrendered its charter as a constituent member of the AFT. Local 89 did, however, continue as an affiliate of the Atlanta Federation of Trades and the Georgia Federation of Labor, both of which continued to be composed of white and black members but organized into segregated local unions.

In 1959, the once again independent APSTA began paying per capita dues on a voluntary basis to the Georgia Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association. The NEA was not associated with the American Federation of Labor and had always represented itself to America's teachers as a professional organization for teachers as opposed to the more trade union approach of the AFT. In 1966, the APSTA (now usually referred to as the Atlanta Teachers Association) removed the "whites only" provision from its constitution and began merger discussions with its counterpart organization for Atlanta's black teachers. In June of 1967, the successfully integrated organization was renamed the Atlanta Education Association and officially affiliated with the National Education Association.

(Note: In 1970 the American Federation of Teachers issued a charter to a new local union in Atlanta. This new labor union affiliated organization for teachers, AFT Local 1565, has since 1970 competed with the Atlanta Education Association for the right to represent Atlanta's teachers before the Atlanta Board of Education and the Atlanta City Council.)


25.5 Linear Feet (in 48 boxes)

Language of Materials



Atlanta Education Association (AEA) records, 1905-1971, consists of records of the Atlanta Education Association (AEA) and its predecessor organization, the Atlanta Public School Teachers Association (APSTA). The bulk of the records (1905-1967) relate to the APSTA while materials after 1967 pertain to the AEA. Includes correspondence, minutes, financial documents, committee files and printed materials. The records document the APSTA's and AEA's relationship with the Georgia Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the Atlanta Board of Education while illustrating the development and progress of labor and education in Atlanta.

Organization of the Records

  • Part I, Series 1: Correspondence, 1919-1971
  • Part I, Series 2: Financial Documents, 1918-1971
  • Part I, Series 3: Legal Documents, 1927-1970
  • Part I, Series 4: Minutes, 1905-1970
  • Part I, Series 5: Printed Material, 1911; 1919-1971
  • Part II, Series 1: Correspondence, 1961-1970
  • Part II, Series 2: Financial Documents, 1920-1970

Offsite Storage

The oversized materials may be stored offsite. Allow at least 2 working days for retrieval.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Atlanta Education Association, courtesy of Bill Brinkley, July 29, 1975.

Online Availability

Most of the photographs in this collection have been digitized and are available online at Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.

Separated Materials note

During processing, materials were separated to other Southern Labor Archives Printed Collections.

For periodicals, see the Southern Labor Archives Periodicals collection finding aid for access. For contracts, see the

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Photographic Collection

  1. Eighteen photographs

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Constitutions and By-laws Collection

  1. Constitutions of the American Federation of Teachers, the Georgia Education Association, and the Atlanta Education Association were placed in this collection.

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Pamphlets Collection

  1. Approximately fifty (50) pamphlets were placed in this collection in the following subject categories: Education; Georgia Education Association; National Education Association; Social Security; Steel Industry; Taxes; American Federation of Teachers; and Textile Workers.

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Proceedings Collection

  1. Convention proceedings for the following organizations were housed in this collection: American Federation of Teachers, 1938-1952; American Federation of Teachers Executive Council Meetings, 1943-1947; Georgia Federation of Labor, 1933-1940; American Federation of Labor, Post-War Forum, April 1944

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Periodicals Collection

  1. Academic Freedom
  2. AFT Monthly Bulletin
  3. The American Teacher, 1930-1952
  4. The Atlanta Teacher, 1929-1945
  5. Defense Bulletin
  6. Facts(Atlanta League of Women Voters), 1932-1969
  7. Georgia Education Journal
  8. The Georgia Voter (Georgia League of Women Voters), 1932-1970
  9. Link (Atlanta Teachers Association), 1963-1965
  10. NEA in the News
  11. NEA Journal
  12. NEA Research Bulletin, 1941-1965
  13. The National Voter (League of Women Voters of the U.S.), 1967-1970
  14. Salary Developments
  15. Today's Education
  16. Urban Reporter
  17. Washington Relay
  18. GEA News
  19. NEA News, 1951-1963
  20. NEA Reporter, 1964-1970

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Artifacts Collection

  1. The APSTA/AEA collection is completed by a single artifact, a name plate reading "Atlanta Public School Teachers Association." It is housed in the second of the two boxes of oversized items.

Processing Information

Processed by Joseph Garrison at the file level, December 12, 1976.

Atlanta Education Association:
A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library
Georgia State University Library
June 2001
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)