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Desegregation & Growth
Desegregation began in 1961 as Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes became the first two black students to enter the University of Georgia in early January. By the time of their graduation in 1963, Athens’ city limits incorporated 13 square miles. Suburban sprawl hit the area, along with urban renewal. A number of historic properties were saved from demolition during this time, including the oldest residence in Athens, as historic preservation became more prominent. This trend would continue through today.
Beginning in the late 1970s, the Athens music scene began to gather momentum, eventually leading to the city’s worldwide recognition as a hotbed for music. Bands such as R.E.M. and the B-52s became wildly popular throughout the 1980s while scores of smaller bands continued to perform in the myriad of Athens clubs on a nightly basis.
After unification with Clarke County was approved, Mayor Dwain Chambers became the last person to hold the title of Mayor of the City of Athens from 1989-1991.