Collier Heights in the News

Thursday, July 9, 2009

“Collier Heights Historic District Listed In The National Register

The Collier Heights Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 23 because of its preeminence nationally as a mid-20th-century African-American residential suburban development…

Retired educators William “Bill” and Mary “Libby” Odum said they are elated but not surprised that their community has achieved historical status.

While working to establish his lawn around 1965, Bill Odum said he remembers waving at tourists aboard the Atlanta Bus Tour, whose route included Collier Heights to show an example of a unique African-American community.

“I knew then that this was a special community,” said Odum, a prominent Atlanta musician, adding that he has “enjoyed living in one of Atlanta’s first upscale-yet-affordable Black communities developed by Black contractors for the city’s growing young, Black population.”

Nationally, Collier Heights is unique in terms of its size, diversity of residents, and the principal role played by African Americans in its development. Its distinctive nature is attributed to a unique combination of local factors, including African-American population growth, political and civic leadership, financial institutions, available land, and land-development expertise. Collier Heights housed a broad spectrum of Atlanta’s mid-century middle- and upper-class African-American population, including millionaire contractor Herman J. Russell of H.J. Russell & Company, who raised his family in the neighborhood.”

March 2009

“Atlanta’s Collier Heights

By: Errin Haines –

The spacious homes with manicured lawns spreading block after block in northwest Atlanta’s Collier Heights were the very picture of mid-century American suburbia. The Black families who moved into them were not.Built starting in the 1950s, Collier Heights stood as a testament to Atlanta’s Black elite and powerful, home to civil-rights leaders, educators, lawyers and entrepreneurs. It follows in prestige behind both Buckhead and Sandy Springs, both of which have greater wealth concentrations than Collier Heights. Supporters of the neighborhood vied to put the first major Black suburb built after World War II on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2008, it became the first community in the nation to be registered as a historic site, listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.”

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

“Collier Heights: Civil rights suburb

Ga. nominates black neighborhood for historic designation


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Collier Heights doesn’t look particularly historic.

The steep, wooded hills of the west Atlanta neighborhood are sprinkled with ranch houses and split-levels built during the heyday of hula hoops and tail-finned El Dorados. Instead of Victorian carriage houses, there are carports and garages. Few craftsmen ever bungalowed on these curving lanes.”

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