A History of Blacks in Cobb County, Georgia

Cobb County has a reputation as a bastion of the old-school South. However, the county actually has a rich and diverse history. When incorporated on December 3, 1832, the county was home to more than 400 people who, today, would be classified as African-American. That number would increase to over 3,300 by end of the Civil War. Although the county’s African-American population has always paled in comparison to that of Fulton County - its neighbor just 20 minutes south.  Cobb County has always been home to many notable African-American residents who have made substantive contributions to Georgia’s and America’s history.  

Not surprisingly, life for those early black Cobb residents was difficult.  Being somewhat geographically isolated, they were a resilient bunch who worked as laborers, barbers, seamstresses and washwomen and at “keeping house”. As business owners, some of the earliest black entrepreneurs in Cobb were farmers who worked their land and sold their crops at marketplaces throughout the area. Others, such as A.S. “Shine” Fowler and J.H. Hanley, established the first Black-owned taxi service and first Black-owned funeral home, respectively, in Cobb County.  

Since the earliest days, Cobb’s citizens of African heritage have demonstrated a strong spirit of unity and cooperation. Led by black churches, a campaign to support the area’s black entrepreneurs has existed since the turn of the 20th century. The success of these businesses greatly empowered the community and created a broad infrastructure that, throughout the last two centuries has attracted a steady stream of African-American residents to Cobb County.

As the nation changed during the last century, so did life for blacks living in Cobb County. The fruits of the Civil Rights Era also blossomed in Cobb, as evidenced by the election of Hugh Grogan to the Marietta City Council representing the 5th Ward. Mr. Grogan served from 1978 to 1982. In 2002, Alicia Thomas Morgan became the first African American from Cobb County elected to serve in the Georgia House of Representatives. Lee Rhyant served for over a decade as an aerospace executive at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta facility, before retiring as executive vice president and general manager of that facility in 2011.  Cobb County is now also headquarters to such notable institutions and organizations as the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 100 Black Men of America, Inc.) and Jack and Jill of America, Inc., among others. 

Today, Cobb County boasts a vibrant black population in excess of 100,000 and more than 2300 African American-owned businesses. Just as Cobb’s earlier black settlers, its newest arrivals have chosen to settle here because of the area’s supreme quality of life, dynamic economic opportunities, and natural beauty.
At Black Cobb Pages, we are providing a useful resource for these residents to connect and prosper. 

The legacy continues…

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