Jamil’s Georgia

Jamil Zainaldin, president of the Georgia Humanities Council, is a wonderful storyteller who will share tales of our state’s past and connect them to our present.

Courthouses of Georgia book celebrates county hallmarks

This week guest contributor ROSS KING, executive director of ACCG, Georgia’s county association, and a Georgia Humanities Council board member, invites readers to take a new look at Georgia’s courthouses.

These days, the courthouse in your county may not be a place you give much thought to, unless you happen to work there. But once upon a time, the county courthouse served as the center of civic and public life — it was a hub, the place where the community’s business was conducted, where citizens could witness the judicial system in action, and where social activity thrived. Continue reading

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Welcome South, Brother

This week, guest contributor MARTIN LEHFELDT, former Georgia Humanities Council board member and former president of the Southeastern Council of Foundations, muses on what southerners have taught him.

Four and a half decades ago, I came South for what I assumed would be a brief cultural experience. I never left.
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Ferguson reminds us that we must have ‘faith in strangers’ — our democracy depends upon it

Learning how to live together peacefully is a theme again — actually, it has been a theme all throughout American history. Ferguson is the momentary focal point, and based on our history, we can expect other cases to emerge like lava flows, evidence of the colliding forces hidden just below the surface. Ferguson raises a question: How can we learn to see each other clearly and without the lens of prejudgment?

There is perhaps no more difficult yet essential act we can take. Yet for many, every fiber of their nature seems to make it difficult to cross the divides. Continue reading

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Atlanta 1864 — why it still matters

This week, guest columnist TODD GROCE, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society, asks why events that occurred 150 ago still matter today.

One hundred and fifty years ago this fall, in September 1864, U.S. forces commanded by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman captured Atlanta, the communication, transportation, and manufacturing hub of the Deep South and, after the capital in Richmond, the most important city in the Confederacy. Continue reading

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Proud to be an American

Though Veterans Day is past, our appreciation for those in uniform is never far from mind. Our remembrance extends back in time, too, across the generations. For many, remembrance is inseparable from patriotism.

Ask most people what patriotism is, and they will say loyalty to one’s country or native land. They will also point to a willingness to defend it. This is a good-enough definition. But American patriotism is something more than a defense of the homeland. Continue reading

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The slave dwelling project

The 21st-century idea of sleeping in a slave cabin from the antebellum era is at first challenging to the mind and the memory. What’s the point? Who would choose to do this? But this is exactly what Joseph McGill Jr., the founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, does.

Most slave cabins are now “gone with the wind,” although a number of them still exist, some modestly preserved and used for new purposes, some in ramshackle condition.
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The view from Brasstown Bald

Eleven of Georgia’s 159 counties are tucked in the northeast corner of the state, where the history and culture of the land is inseparable from the mountains. There, the Appalachian mountain chain and the trail by the same name begin their long journey northward to Maine.

From atop Georgia’s highest point, Brasstown Bald, the eye looks out on the intersection of four states, with their tree-covered cliffs, knobs, creeks, and rivers, as well as the ever-present vultures tracing lazy circles in the sky.
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R-e-s-p-e-c-t — what August Wilson earns

Love, honor, beauty, betrayal, duty. We know these as essences of life. They are also at the heart of the stories told in the poetry and plays of the great, late August Wilson (1945-2005).

He won two Pulitzer Prizes for drama, and among his best-known works are Fences, The Piano Lesson, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Set largely in the black working-class community of his native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his plays commemorate the individuality of his characters, and in so doing bridge the differences among races to create a mutual recognition.
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‘Sweet Tea and Southern Breezes': Our archives and heritage

October is Georgia Archives Month, an occasion for commemorating the importance of preserving and documenting Georgia’s as well as the nation’s history.

The 2014 theme of Georgia Archives Month, “Sweet Tea and Southern Breezes,” sponsored by the Society of Georgia Archivists, evokes “the memories of friendship and community documented in archival collections across the state.” Continue reading

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Georgia’s beauty all around us — a trip to Cave Spring

About 75 miles from downtown Atlanta and about 12 miles south of Rome is one of the most beautiful settings anywhere: Cave Spring. Taking its name from an aquifer that surfaces through a limestone cave, this town of about 1,200 sits in beautiful Vann’s Valley of Floyd County in north Georgia.

The community was settled in the late 1820s as migrants from Augusta encroached on land still occupied by the Cherokee. Drawn by the gold rush of 1829 but also by the fertile valleys, early residents showed themselves to be industrious settlers whose priorities of learning, productivity, worship, and service would shape future generations.
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