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A.J. McClung Papers

Identifier: MC 200

Scope and Contents

The A.J. McClung Papers comprise 12 linear feet of materials and are arranged into eight Series of Correspondence, Newspaper Clippings, Government Documents, Personal, Awards, Speeches, Information about Columbus and Photographs.


  • Creation: 1940s-2002

Biographical / Historical

The Honorable Arthur Joseph “A.J.” McClung (Jan. 15, 1912-Nov. 17, 2002) was an educator, politician, administrator, community developer and leader in Columbus, Georgia. McClung was born in Birmingham, Alabama to Arthur Holman McClung and Claudia Robinson McClung. Coming from a strong family background and being the second oldest child born between—Ruth McClung Sturdivant and Sylvia McClung Davis—work became a personal responsibility to McClung. When his father died he dropped out of high school, and when his mother discovered that he was working instead of going to school, she enrolled him in Tuskegee Institute from which he graduated in 1933.

McClung arrived in Columbus in 1943, after a decade of service of being an innovative athletic coach and instructor at Westfield High School in Birmingham. His career in Columbus began first as the United Service Organizations (USO) Director (1943-1954), then from 1954-1978 he served as the Executive Director of the A.J. McClung YMCA, previously the Brookhaven Branch. He was hired in 1979 as the Deputy Director of the Columbus Urban League and completed his service there in 1980.

In 1970, McClung was elected councilor and mayor pro tem for the first time. Columbus became a consolidated government in 1971, and McClung was instrumental in the formation and implementation of the charter for the newly formed government. After Mayor J.R. Allen was killed in a tragic plane crash, McClung was the first African-American to serve as mayor in a major Southern city in 1973 (for 52 ½ days).

Believing strongly in service to the community McClung is reported by Judge Albert Thompson as saying to him, “Think things out”, and during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s-70s he often put the community's well-being before his own. He went on to serve the city of Columbus and the City Council for a total of 28 years until his retirement in 1998. A dedicated and well-respected Columbusite, McClung left a legacy of hope, service to the community, and respect for all people; to his family and the entire Chattahoochee Valley region.

Note: Additional information on the life of A.J. McClung may be found in the Columbus State University Vertical Files.


13 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Series 1: Consists of correspondence from 1963-1974 and 1976-1999.

Series 2: contains newspaper clippings from various local newspapers that cover the span of his life in Columbus.

Series 3: has three linear feet of documents that pertain to Columbus Consolidated Government's projects and budgets.

Series 4: comprises three linear feet of personal documents holding items, such as biographical information, publications that deal with equality in education, letters from his trip to Japan and proclamations.

Series 5: has nine linear feet of material that include awards given to McClung from 1940-2002.

Series 6: contains speeches for various occasions both typed and handwritten.

Series 7: is information about Columbus in the form of pamphlets and publications about places, such as the Ma Rainey House and the Liberty Theatre.

Series 8:Photographs

Series 9:Scrapbooks.

Custodial History

Donated to Columbus State University in 2005 by: Charles and Lillian “Bunky” McClung Clark, and Art and Angela McClung. Recent material was donated in 2016 byLillian "Bunky" McClung Clark.

A.J. McClung Papers, MC 200
In Progress
Smith, Jennie
February 2018
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Repository Details

Part of the Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

4225 University Ave
Columbus Georgia 31907 United States