The Georgia Historical Society dedicated an historical marker at Rush Memorial Congregational UCC in Atlanta on October 16, 2014. This was one of two markers dedicated on that day as the first sites in the Civil Rights Trail Initiative. The other being a marker honoring the Atlanta Student Movement. Mr. Lonnie King, as well as representatives of the Georgia Historical Society and the Georgia Economic Development Department, spoke at the dedication of the Atlanta Student Movement Marker. Mrs. Alethea Boone, wife of the late Rev. Joseph E. Boone and Rev. June Boutwell, Designated Conference Minister of the Southeast Conference United Church of Christ, spoke at the dedication of the marker at Rush Memorial. Those who attended the 2014 Southeast Conference Annual Meeting will recall the presentation of a certificate of support from the Southeast Conference and the Charles E. Cobb Racial Justice Fund in the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministry. That certificate was presented again at the dedication so that those gathered were aware of this support.
In the spring of 1960, students from Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Clark, Morehouse, Morris Brown, and Spelman colleges formed the Atlanta Student Movement and joined thousands of other students throughout the South to fight segregation and discrimination in places of public accommodation. After being denied the use of office space on the Atlanta University campus, the students were given free use of an office here by Rev. Joseph E. Boone. A leader in the Atlanta Movement, Rev. Boone headed pastoral projects like Operation Breadbasket, which encouraged the employment of African Americans. Despite some concerns about the students’ use of the facilities, the congregation supported their efforts through donations of food and supplies. Rush Church illustrates the importance of local churches and their congregations in the organization and implementation of civil rights activities throughout the South. Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, United Church of Christ – Southeast Conference, and Rush Memorial Congregational Church