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African Americans at Westminster: Overview

This research guide will help students wanting to learn more about the African American experience at The Westminster Schools.

Archives Hours

The Beck Archives is located on the top floor of the Carlyle Fraser Library in Pressly Hall.


  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


Have more questions?

REFERENCE QUESTIONSUse this link to ask questions about the school or to request copies of information.

ARCHIVES ONLINE CATALOG: Search here for information on the holdings of the Lewis H. Beck Archives at The Westminster Schools.

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS: Browse the digitized and born-digital photographs available online.

THE SCHOOL ARCHIVIST (BLOG)The blog discusses information by, about, and for school archivists.



Floor Maps

Use the maps to locate resources in the Carlyle Fraser Library


The Westminster Schools was created in 1951 from the merger of two Atlanta private schools: Washington Seminary (1878) and North Avenue Presbyterian School (1909). All of the students in both schools were from white families. There were a few boys in the lower classes, but by 8th grade, the classes were entirely female.

Part of Dr. William Pressly's vision for The Westminster Schools at its creation was that of a co-educational school, in that boys would have a premier, private school to attend in the Atlanta area. However, the students were still predominately white. There were some foreign exchange students, but these students typically came from Europe or South America.

In 1954, the Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education declared that there could no longer be "separate, but equal" schools, as the predominately African American schools typically were not as well equipped as those of whites. In the South, most white schools did not want to integrate African American students, and it would not be until 1967 that the first African American students came to Westminster.

However, since that time, Westminster has grown to be a quite diverse school in many areas. This research guide will provide information specifically on the African American experience at the school for those students, faculty, and staff who wish to do more in-depth research.

Featured photo: Wanda Elaine Ward entered The Westminster Schools in the fall of 1967 as one of five African American students. She was the first African American female to graduate, as well as one of the first female high school students to enter Princeton University after graduation in 1972. [1972 Lynx yearbook] Dr. Ward is currently the Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Science Foundation.

Have a question for the archivist?

Feel free to contact the archivist for research or citation assistance. I am generally available in my office for drop-in help or scheduled appointments throughout the academic day.

Pamela Nye
Archives: CFL Top Floor