Civil Rights

After Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, plans for an interracial celebration in still-segregated Atlanta were not initially well supported by the city's business elite until Coca-Cola intervened.[17]

J. Paul Austin, the chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, and Mayor Ivan Allen summoned key Atlanta business leaders to the Commerce Club's eighteenth floor dining room, where Austin told them flatly, 'It is embarrassing for Coca-Cola to be located in a city that refuses to honor its Nobel Prize winner. We are an international business. The Coca-Cola Co. does not need Atlanta. You all need to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Co.' Within two hours of the end of that meeting, every ticket to the dinner was sold.
—Andrew Young [18]


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