Henry A. Rucker, internal revenue collector,  seated at large desk in an Atlanta office.
Photo: Library of Congress Prints / Photographs Division
Photo: Library of Congress Prints / Photographs Division

These were the most popular professions for African-American Atlantans in 1900

African-Americans are doing better economically in Atlanta than in any other city in the country, according to Forbes Magazine.

Blacks in the area have a median household income of $41,800 — significantly above the average of other major metropolitan areas.

Metro Atlanta is also a thriving hub for black-owned businesses, where Black business ownership grows at triple the rate of the national average among all races.

The group has come a long way since 1900, when nearly 90 percent of Georgia’s black population was employed in farming or domestic service

With the help from students at Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University), civil rights activist and academic W.E.B. Du Bois conducted an audit of black life in 1900 to document social and economic progress since emancipation.

The project, titled “The Georgia Negro Exhibit”, was presented at the World’s Fair in Paris that year and included a number of documents, including this pie chart showing professions chosen by graduates of the university. An overwhelming 58.5 percent chose teaching.

 A series of statistical charts illustrating the condition of the descendants of former African slaves now in residence in the United States of America

Top professions for African-Americans in Atlanta, 1900

1. Teachers: 58.5 percent
2. Housewife: 28.1 percent
3. Minister: 4.3 percent
4. Other professions: 3.8 percent
5. Government service: 3.2 percent
6. Business: 2.1 percent

Click here to read more about W.E.B. Du Bois' audit of black life at the turn of the century.

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