This week, JEREMY KATZ, of the Breman Museum, recounts the role of Rich’s Department Store in the civil rights movement and its impact on the 1960 presidential election.
By Jeremy Katz
On February 22nd and February 26th, the Breman Museum will lead a Civil Rights Trolley Tour to several sites throughout downtown Atlanta related to Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement. One of the stops is outside the location of the former Rich’s Department Store where the famous clock is still affixed to what is now a federal building on the corner of Alabama and Broad Street. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Rich’s represents the quintessential shopping experience of 20th-century Atlanta.
Jeff Clemmons, an expert on the history of Rich’s who will be leading one of the tours, places recognizes the store’s significance in leveling the nation’s history. In his book, Rich’s: A Southern Institution, Clemmons asserts that John F. Kennedy would not have won the 1960 election against Richard Nixon if it were not for a sit-in held at Rich’s flagship downtown store.