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Harold A. Dawson, Sr.

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Information about Harold A. Dawson, Sr.

Profile image of Harold A. Dawson, Sr.

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Real Estate Entrepreneur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Islands
Favorite Quote:
Do Something Even If It's Wrong.

Birthplace

Born:
3/5/1935
Birth Location:
Atlanta, Georgia

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Real Estate Entrepreneur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Islands
Favorite Quote:
Do Something Even If It's Wrong.

Birthplace

Born:
3/5/1935
Birth Location:
Atlanta
See how Harold A. Dawson, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Real estate tycoon Harold A. Dawson, Sr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia on March 5, 1935. While still in grade school, Dawson began working, polishing brass and washing windows for money. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1953, he went on to attend Morehouse College. However, a personal crisis in 1955 forced him to leave school early. In 1957, he was hired by T.M. Alexander, Sr. of Citizen’s Trust Bank as a realtor, and later went over to Alexander’s firm, Alexander & Associates, the most prestigious African American owned real estate firm at the time. but he returned, earning his B.S. degree in business administration in 1963.

Alexander & Associates later became Alexander-Dawson & Associates, where Dawson served as president. Under his guidance, Alexander-Dawson & Associates built the University Plaza Apartments, the first luxury mid-rise building in Atlanta’s black community. The firm also bought and developed properties behind the “Peyton Wall,” the controversial wall built in an attempt to separate Atlanta’s black and white communities. In 1969, he formed the Harold A. Dawson Company (HADCO), where he remains today as CEO.

HADCO has grown from its early years of selling homes in the Atlanta area to developing multi-million dollar properties across the United States. Some of the recent accomplishments of the company include Centennial Hill in Atlanta, which houses the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and a high-rise condominium building, and Centerpoint in Baltimore, which occupies a full city block for commercial and residential use. HADCO has remained a strong family business. When Dawson was diagnosed with cancer in 1992, his son, Harold Dawson, Jr., returned to Atlanta to join the business.

A firm believer in giving back to his community, Dawson has set up a family foundation to fund a new building for Radcliffe Presbyterian Church, as well as scholarships for students who attend the church. He has also established scholarships for students attending Morehouse and Clark Atlanta Universities. Dawson holds the distinction of being the first African American to serve on the Georgia Real Estate Commission, where he is the former chairman and also a member. He is the past president of the National Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, the Empire Board of Realtists and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.

In addition to his son, Dawson and his wife, Rose, have a daughter, Cari.

Harold Dawson passed away on January 19, 2012.

See how Harold A. Dawson, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harold A. Dawson, Sr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about the accomplishments of his maternal family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about the impact of his great-uncle George Dawson on his business career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes his mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about being an only child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. speculates about his maternal grandfather's mysterious disappearance, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. speculates about his maternal grandfather's mysterious disappearance, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes his father's personality and education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memories developing his business skills in University Homes in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about being a patrol boy in elementary school and how that instilled self-esteem that was later challenged
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his favorite subjects and teachers in school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. recalls fundraising to build a Cub Scout hut while a student at Ashby Street School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his experience at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. reflects upon his early lessons in good business practices
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. explains how he entered the real estate business in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. remembers meeting HistoryMaker The Honorable Andrew Young and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes the financial lending and mortgage market for African Americans in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes Morehouse College president Dr. Benjamin E. Mays
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. recalls speakers at Morehouse College chapel services
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about the founding members of the Empire Real Estate Board, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. explains how he joined Alexander & Associates, which later became Alexander-Dawson & Associates, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about the wall on Peyton Road in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his first development project, University Plaza Apartments, in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his first development project, University Plaza Apartments, in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. reflects upon the role of the white business community's role in facilitating social change in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his mentor, T.M. Alexander, Sr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his son and their vision for Harold A. Dawson Company, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his involvement with the Empire Real Estate Board and National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB)
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about being appointed to the Georgia Real Estate Commission & Appraisers Board and the National Association of Real Estate License Law Officials
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community in the field of real estate development
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. talks about his family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harold A. Dawson, Sr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harold A. Brown, Sr. narrates his photographs, pt. 2