Although Clark Atlanta University was formed only in 1988, its parent institutions were two of the first four-year, predominately African American colleges in the country.
The same year the Civil War ended Atlanta University was founded, with Clark College opening a few years later in 1869, to serve the newly freed men. A number of notable scholars have taught at the two schools, including famous activist W.E.B. DuBois.
In the 1930s, Clark College joined the Atlanta University complex. Already sharing a common space and heritage, the two institutions were consolidated to form Clark Atlanta University in 1988.