This chapter has a rich history of supporting Florida A&M University (FAMU) and the National Alumni Association (NAA). Prior to the early 70s it is purported that several FAMU alumni residing in Metro Atlanta would socially mingle and network at their homes or businesses for fellowship, reminiscing, and sharing news pertaining to what was happening back on “the Hill”. With this, it became apparent that FAMUANS in Atlanta should establish some formality in regular meetings through a broader connection with our alma mater, other local alumni, and graduates in other parts of the country. Actualizing these ideas was begun with communication to the university, alumni resource persons, and a small but energetic group of Rattlers. Hence the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the FAMU National Association was launched in the spring of 1974. The first leaders (1974-76) included John Stinson and Christopher Crenshaw president and vice president respectively. Annie Delores Jackson Rambo served as secretary. Other supportive persons or charter members included Pelman Blackshear Jr., Lillie Dean Davis Smith, Velma White Larkins, Jessie McQueen Bell, Al McLean, Ocenia Stinson, Marcella Logan, and G. A. Weatherspool.
Going forward this enthusiastic group of Rattlers set in motion plans to increase the membership for the monumental task in reaching the common goals to be an asset for FAMU and its future. Garnering names from school contacts, professional associations, telephone, word of mouth, relatives and friends, the membership and alumni contacts numbered over 100. The Georgia Hill Neighborhood Center was established as the regular monthly meeting place.
In review, the Atlanta Chapter early on distinguished itself as a foremost chapter in the country. Over the past 40 years the record reflects many events designed, hosted, and implemented by this chapter: Fundraising programs, Recruitment of students, Hosting Regional and National meetings, Chats with University Presidents, Annual Freshmen Student-Parent Receptions, Educational Fairs, Presentation of Scholarships, Jazz Brunches, Galas, HBCU Alumni 5K/10K/Run/Walk (initiated by Atlanta FAMU alumni), Annual Tour to FAMU for prospective students—Whatever the challenge, Atlanta Alumni stepped up to the plate and continue to represent the quality expected by our university.
In the early 80s when each chapter was asked to pledge $5,000 in commemoration of the 100th year of FAMU, the Atlanta Chapter pledged $25,000 with the first payment of $6,000 paid in1984. By 1987 the entire pledge was retired. Chapter received Creative Fundraising Award for the success of major events to make this happen.
Particularly with the advent of the first Ebony Classic (1989) and subsequent classics when the Rattlers met on the gridiron in “the ATL” until 2014; the chapter was at the helm with organizers, promoters, local schools, the university, community and other HBCU alumni to ensure our fundraising efforts were maximized to benefit FAMU; and hospitality services were available for local and visiting alumni and friends. In 2005 the Atlanta Golf Classic was an added entertainment feature.
Alumni have kept the upbeat and forward momentum for a FAMU FOREVER! What began in 2004 as a FAMU Alumni Mixer (Scholarship Fundraiser) emerged into a united organization of metro alumni from other HBCUs, (the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance). With cooperation and collaboration two signature fundraising events are annually held---the Atlanta HBCU Alumni GALA and the 5K/10K/Run/Walk. Partnering with a Purpose has generated thousands of dollars for the participating schools to donate to their respective college/university based on contributions and sponsorships.
Because of our love for FAMU the strength of this chapter continues on a path of “Excellence with Caring” to be consistent and compatible with the university and the NAA through recruitment and support of students morally, spiritually and financially.