They had been attempting to make this happen since last year when final plans were being put in place. Then the pandemic struck. Finally, on July 22, 2021, Clark Atlanta University‘s president, Dr. George T. French, Jr. stepped onto the land where the original Clark Atlanta University (CAU) began.
This was his first time ever on the original Clark University campus and his first time walking the hallowed halls of the only remaining building left from what was a spiraling campus consisting of approximately 500 acres of prime real estate in southeast Atlanta. When the university started to develop in the late 1860s and early 1870s there were dormitories being constructed throughout the campus with shaded avenues, a dining hall and plenty of room for expansion.
The location is also where Gammon Theological Seminary got its start. Gammon was first part of Clark University’s Department of Religion and Philosophy so the two had always shared classrooms and land space. When Gammon became independent in 1883, the two institutions continued to co-exist next to each other for over fifty years. This visit by President French to Leete Hall was the first time that a president at CAU had visited the original campus in quite some time. The president was amazed at the architectural structure of the building, the preciseness of the stone and brick placement, and the sheer overall beauty of the structure. Leete Hall was built in 1920-1922 by Black Atlanta architect, Alexander Hamilton.
Dr. French was given a walking tour of the building which included the surrounding grounds where he observed some stone structures that were once part of some of the former buildings that were on campus. His tour culminated with a visit to the Crogman Chapel which is housed in Leete Hall. As the president entered the chapel he was greeted by an expanse of bright colored walls, draped with curtains of gold velour, red and blue cushioned chairs that would accommodate hundreds, and a vaulted ceiling consisting of dark mahogany beams and several dropped chandeliers that contained four clustered bulb configurations. While inside the chapel, he could be seen examining almost every nook and cranny of the interior. Being obviously pleased with what he had seen during his visit, President French remarked, “This is my first time here, but it won’t be my last.”
Last updated on July 27, 2021