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Black, Nellie Peters


Civic leader and reformer Mary Ellen (Nellie) Peters Black was born in Atlanta in 1851. After Sherman’s destruction of the city, she returned to personally bring a message of hope and encouragement to residents as they came back to view the ruins of their former homes. In 1877, she married George Black, inheriting four stepchildren. After his death in 1886, she became active in women’s clubs and civic affairs. She served on the board that organized the first free hospital in Atlanta (which later became Grady Hospital). Black promoted free kindergartens in Atlanta, served three terms as president of the Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs, and worked on other civic projects. In 1914, she began speaking at a series of of agricultural rallies across Georgia to promote scientific experimentation, diversifying crops, and canning fruits and vegetables. Black was also instrumental in convincing the trustees of the University of Georgia to agree to accept women students in 1918. She died in Atlanta on August 4, 1919.