1994 – Gridlock in Atlanta caused by Freaknik interfered with weddings, work schedules and even a prom. The free-form festival brought the central city to its knees. At its peak in 1994 and 1995, more than 200,000 mostly black college students would flock to Atlanta, causing massive traffic jams as men would literally get out of their cars to taunt, videotape or grope women. But by the time it ended in 1999, politicians and police had made movement in Atlanta so restrictive that for the students, Freaknik was hardly worth it anymore. “I was disappointed by what it became,” said Sharon Toomer, one of the founders of Freaknik. “Its original purpose was to be an annual event to encourage camaraderie between historically black colleges. It was a rare opportunity for black college students to get together."
During the 1982-1983 school year, Toomer was a freshman at Spelman College and a member of the D.C. Metro Club. Toomer said that as spring break approached the club planned a small picnic on campus for students who could not afford to go home. About 50 people showed up and enjoyed barbecue chicken, Go Go music and Parliament Funkadelic.
"It was very innocent,” Toomer said. “Even the name. Throughout the year, we had this thing about the Freak. There was a dance called "The Freak,” Rick James had a song out called “Super Freak,” and Chic had “Le Freak.” So we named it Freaknik. That was it. It was a sign of the music at the time.“Photo by Johnny Crawford from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution archives and text from a story by Ernie Suggs