THE DOBBS HOUSE AND UNCLE REMUS
The Dobbs House operated the restaurant at Atlanta Municipal Airport's temporary terminal from 1948 through 1961 and for all but the last year of that period, it remained segregated. The Dobbs House dining room was decorated in a plantation theme based on the stories from Atlanta writer Joel Chandler Harris' book Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings. The white-columned entrance was decorated with cotton bales, and an African-American employee, Alfonso Smith, entertained guests with stories from the book. This is a late 1940s-vintage postcard from the Dobbs House showing Mr. Smith as Uncle Remus, ringing his dinner bell and welcoming guests.
Despite their plantation theme portraying "happy" slaves and their nearly all black staff, the Dobbs House restaurant remained staunchly segregated through the 1950s, famously refusing to allow celebrities such as Sidney Poitier and Martin Luther King, Jr. to sit with white patrons in the main dining room. It took a court order in 1960 to finally force the Dobbs House to accept black customers. This photo of Alfonso Smith was published in the March 17, 1955 issue of Jet magazine and hints at the outrage caused by the restaurant.
The following two photos were taken by Gordon Parks at Atlanta Municipal Airport in the spring of 1956 as part of his "Segregation" series and are courtesy of the Gordon Parks Foundation. Aside from the fascinating story behind the intriguing images, these are also notable for being the only color photos I have ever seen of the interior of the Temporary Terminal.
The windows in the background are the Dobbs House restaurant.
Here's a photo from the LIFE archives marked to show the location of the above photos and the Uncle Remus postcard, also seen above. The main ticket counter is to the left in this view.