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This Day in Georgia History

July 04, 1868

General Assembly Convened with First Black Legislators

The newly elected Georgia General Assembly held its first meeting under the new Constitution of 1868. Joining the 186 white members were 36 black legislators - the first in Georgia history. The legislative session convened in the Atlanta City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse, which Atlanta has offered as a temporary state capitol. (This building would be torn down 16 years later to make way for construction of Georgia’s current state capitol.) Newly elected legislators were given the oath of office and presiding officers for each house elected. However, a large crowd - including many former slaves - had gathered on the grounds of the capitol to celebrate. Crowd noise and a brass band forced legislators to adjourn until Monday, July 6.