Jim Crow laws in the South were state and local laws that mandated “separate but equal” status for African Americans after the Civil War until 1965. Initially, the laws required the separation of whites and African Americans on all forms of public transportation and in schools. Eventually, the segregation expanded to include interaction and commingling in schools, cemeteries, parks, theaters, and restaurants. These laws did not deter the Black residents in Roswell from developing separate organizations and clubs that served the betterment of their community and gave them a sense of pride during this time.
Groveway Community Group was a neighborhood organization established in 1943 and was responsible for helping and promoting the Black community in Roswell. It held social functions, helped to get Blacks out to vote, and worked with city officials to promote racial harmony. It was incorporated in 1961.
A Place of Their Own
Black residents needed a meeting place of their own. After a new school for Black students was constructed in Alpharetta, their former school building on Grove Way was purchased back from Fulton County and was donated to the Black community as part of the Boys Club of Atlanta from 1951 to 1960. This building was the heart of their community and served as the meeting place for all their organizations. The building eventually became the home of the Groveway Community Group.
Members of the Roswell chapter of the Masons and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lodge 7673, meet in the community building.
Alex Nuckles Sr. organized the first Black Boy Scouts troop in Roswell, troop #206. Their meetings and dances for the Teenage Canteen Youth Group were held in the community building.
Doc's Place was the only African American restaurant in Roswell. It was located at the corner of Pleasant Hill Street and Oxbo Road.
It was owned by Samuel "Doc" Stafford and his wife Hattie.
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church was established in 1855 by the enslaved. It also included burial land for their deceased. The original church was located near the corner of Holcomb Bridge Road and Alpharetta Highway. Zion Baptist Church was organized in 1871 with members from the original Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Its congregation build a church on Zion Circle. Around 1900, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church congregation would move to closer in town to Roswell, eventually building their current church on Pleasant Hill Street. Both congregations are still very active today in the community.
Health Care for Blacks During Segregation
Blacks were allowed to receive health services at the Roswell Health Center, but they had to come on separate days from whites residents.
North Fulton Herald