John A. Griffin

Civil Rights Activist

1935C 1938G 1993H

John A. GriffinJohn A. Griffin was an educator known for his gentle and conciliatory approach to Southern race relations. Along with Ralph McGill and others, he founded the Southern Regional Council in 1944 to bring white and black Southerners together.

From 1965 to 1978 he was executive director of the Southern Education Foundation, which supports historically black colleges and universities and other educational programs for disadvantaged youth. Griffin worked at Emory for fifteen years as assistant to the president, professor of sociology, and, most memorably, creator of the Evening at Emory continuing education program in the 1940s.

While at Emory he worked with the Ford Foundation on its study of segregated Southern schools, which is credited with influencing the decision in Brown v. Board of Education.