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Hosea L. Williams papers

Identifier: aarl04-004

Scope and Content Note

Minutes and agendas, scrapbooks, photographs, reports and historical writings, printed material and ephemera, personal papers, books, and artifacts are the elements of Reverend Williams Papers. The material documents the history and reflects the activities of Williams during the Civil Rights Movement, his political career, his business ventures and the history of his involvement in several organizations including the SCLC. The collection also contains history and information on Hosea's Feed the Hungry and Homeless.


  • 1926-2000


Restrictions on Use

Confidential Files

All files with © denotes that the copyright is held by Hosea Project Inc.

Copyright Restrictions

All images of Hosea Williams and text by Hosea Williams are under copyright and are held by the Hosea Project, Inc. The Hosea Project, Inc retains all rights to the images and text and they may not be used for any purpose other than that listed below. The materials may be used in digital or print form in educational and scholarly research, reports, and other projects that are not offered for sale. Materials may not be used in digital or print form by organizations or commercial concerns, except with express permission from The Hosea Project, Inc.

The possession of The Hosea Project, Inc. images or text does not constitute permission to use. Permission must be requested in writing. The requestor must seek permission from The Hosea Project, Inc. through the Auburn Avenue Research Library. Requests should follow the instructions of the Auburn Avenue Research Library for Permission to Use. Permission is for one-time, one-project only. Fees will be determined on the basis of 1) whether the request is for scholarly or commercial use, and 2) the amount and the nature of the material to be used. Payment of fees must be made upon signing of the permission agreement.

Credit must be given to the Hosea Project Inc. and the creator of the work, Hosea Williams. Credit must appear with the image or text, on the credit page that indicates the placement page number, or a credit screen. Photographs may be cropped to suit the design and layout, but may not be altered colorized, or drawn upon without a letter of permission. Publications must include notice of copyright for the image or text used as follows: © 2004. Printed with the permission of the Hosea Project, Inc. The Author must provide the final publication to the Auburn Avenue Research Library.

The Hosea Project, Inc. reserves the right to decline permission to individuals, publishers, producers and organizations who have not complied with these conditions.

Biographical Sketch

Hosea Lorenzo Williams, ordained minister, chemist, Civil Rights activist, and politician became one of Atlanta's most influential political leaders of the twentieth century. Williams' Civil Rights legacy included leading hundreds of marchers across the Edmond Pettus Bridge outside Selma, Alabama along with John Lewis in what came to be known as "Bloody Sunday". Williams was also an architect for the Savannah Movement along with the Reverend Willie Bolden. The founder of Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, a non-profit organization known for providing hot meals and clothing in Atlanta, Hosea Williams continued to fight for social change in the latter twentieth century.

Born on January 5, 1926 in Attapulgus, Georgia, Williams was raised by his grandparents Lena raised him and Turner Williams. During his teen years, Williams left his grandparents farm and relocated in Tallahassee, Florida where he held menial jobs. Before returning to school to complete his education Williams joined the United States Army during World War II. He earned the rank of Staff Sergeant in an all black unit. Williams earned the Purple Heart for surviving enemy attacks in France. After leaving the Army, the veteran survived another attack in which a mob beat him for drinking from a "whites only" water fountain in a bus station in Attapulgus, Georgia.

In 1947, at the age of twenty-three Williams graduated from Hutto High school and entered Morris Brown College where he earned a bachelor's degree in Chemistry. He later earned a master's degree in chemistry from Atlanta University. In 1952, he began working as the first black Research Chemist for the Department of Agriculture in Savannah, Georgia where he was employed until 1963.

During the 1950s, Williams organized Savannah's first black disabled Veteran Chapter. He led the campaign to integrate the Nancy Hank, the south's passenger train that ran from Atlanta to Savannah, and became the first to lead a movement to integrate public beaches in Savannah. Additionally, Hosea Williams integrated Savannah's American Chemical Society and later he integrated Savannah golf courses. Under the leadership of W. W. Law, he organized the political arm of the Savannah Chapter of the NAACP in 1958, resulting in the organization of the South's first successful voter registration program.

After an unsuccessful run for the NAACP Board of Directors, Reverend Williams formed the independent organization called the Chatham County Crusade for Voters in 1961. He also organized Georgia's first successful non-violent direct action campaign in Savannah, Georgia and was a sponsor for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) National Annual Convention.

Williams was a key figure in the Freedom Summer Voting Registration Campaign (1963), and founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peoples Church of Love in 1972. He led countless employees against companies such as Coca Cola and Sears and Roebuck & Company. In 1987, he led protesters against racial injustice in a march in predominantly white Forsyth County, Georgia.

Reverend Williams was elected to the Georgia General Assembly where he served until 1974 1984. In 1985, he was elected to one term on the Atlanta City Council and served years as a DeKalb County commissioner. Armed with "A Job to be Earned.... Not Bought" as one of his campaign slogans, Hosea Williams challenged Maynard Jackson for the Mayor of the city of Atlanta.

Hosea Williams died on November 16, 2000.


123.0 boxes

120 linear ft. in 142 boxes




The material documents the history and reflects the activities of Williams during the Civil Rights Movement, his political career, his business ventures and the history of his involvement in several organizations including the SCLC.


  1. Series: 1. Personal Items
  2. Series: 2. Speeches and Writings
  3. Series: 3. Speaking Engagements
  4. Series: 4. Civil Rights
  5. Series: 5. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
  6. Series: 6. National SCLC
  7. Series: 7. Political Career
  8. Series: 8. Feed The Hungry
  9. Series: 9. Business Ventures
  10. Series: 10. Publications
  11. Series: 11. Audio Visual
  12. Series: 12. Ephemera


Purchase 2004

Processing Information

Processed by Anita Martin, Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library-Atlanta Fulton Public Library System, 2006.

Inventory of the Hosea L. Williams Papers aarl04-004aarl04-004
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History Repository

101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30303