What Georgia governor refused to serve African Americans in his restaurant?

1 Answer
May 12, 2016

Lester Maddox, who served as governor from 1967-1971.


Although he was a Democrat, Governor Maddox refused to serve African Americans in his restaurant in Atlanta. He believed it was his right as a property owner to choose who to serve, and used his restaurant as a place to launch his political career. Like many southern Democrats, Maddox was a segregationist who resisted fiercely any move towards Civil Rights.

A segregationist is a person who believes that people of different races should not overlap in society. The US was segregated from the time of slavery all the way to Maddox's time. Blacks and whites used different water fountains, attended different schools, and for the most part, lived in different parts of cities.

Though Brown vs. Board (1954) legally ended segregation in public schools and the Civil Rights Act (passed in 1964) aimed to end all segregation in the USA, these legal shifts didn't affect most average Americans for a long while.