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.

The story of the peach is the story of us

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, of Georgia Humanities, uses the story of the peach to examine a period in Georgia when what the state would become was far from certain.

By Allison Hutton

Blueberry Street. The Pecan Road Race. The Broiler Bowl. The Peanut State.

These names, honoring the agricultural industries in which Georgia ranks first (according to data compiled in 2014), may be more accurate, but “peach” has a certain ring to it that’s hard to replicate. And why would we want to?

The peach and its ascendancy to Georgia’s favorite and most famous stone fruit helps tell an important story of Georgia: who lived here, who worked here, and how we became who we are today.

When going back to school meant something different

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, of Georgia Humanities, reflects on going back to school — and the period when that meant returning to a school for members of one race only. 

By Allison Hutton

If you are a parent, or just someone who loves the scent of “bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils,” the start of the school may have you engrossed in thoughts of routines and obligations: homework, carpools, class schedules. It’s worth remembering, however, that so many of the things we now take for granted — where we go to school, who we sit with, and when we go — were different only a generation or two ago.

Georgia’s natural world

Georgia’s history is closely tied to our natural environment, which has been the source of economic opportunity and a destination for leisure activity, a magnet for explorers and tourists, an inspiration for writers and other artists.

A brief history of the mosquito in Georgia

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, of Georgia Humanities, tracks the evolution of the relationship between the mosquito and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By Allison Hutton

For the decades of devastation it wrought on the state’s cotton industry, the boll weevil ranks high on the list of Georgia’s entomological villains. From an economic perspective (in 1920, some farmers in south Georgia reported 50-75% losses), certainly, the boll weevil is a likely candidate for the top position on the list. From a public health perspective, however, the mosquito ranks #1.

Primus E. King helped reclaim African American voting rights

In this column, members of Georgia Humanities and their colleagues take turns discussing Georgia’s history and culture, and other topics that matter. Through different voices, we hear different stories.

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, of Georgia Humanities, recounts Primus King’s fight to end the white primary in Georgia. 

By Allison Hutton

In the pantheon of civil rights leaders, Primus King has not been accorded the same space as Parks or any of Georgia’s other activists, yet his sacrifice, his steadfastness in the face of violent threats, and the inspiration he provided Georgia’s African American population more than qualify Primus King as worthy.

Archiving the Cold War: the role of Georgia’s schools on the home front

This week, MIKE SANTROCK, of the Fulton County Schools Archives, reflects on the Cold War’s impact on Georgia’s schools.  

By Mike Santrock

For many of us, the Cold War is not that distant a memory. We grew up in an age when two superpowers held the world captive, “like two scorpions in a bottle,” according to physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb. In our day, a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union would have killed in minutes more people than had been killed in all other 20th century wars combined.

American harmony and the pursuit of happiness

This week, EDWARD QUEEN, of Emory University, reflects on diversity and the promise of America.

By Edward Queen

A recent visit to Six Flags Over Georgia gave me hope. The America I saw there, and indeed, the one in which I live, is not an America of hate, hopelessness, division, and despair. It was an America of harmony, excitement, and hope.

Georgia remembers those who served in World War I

This week guest contributor TOM JACKSON, of the Georgia World War I Centennial Commission, looks at the many memorials to WWI soldiers in our state.

The mission of the Georgia World War I Centennial Commission (GWWICC) in remembering the Great War is not only to educate today’s citizens about this often-overlooked war but also to honor those who served and commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The pitcher and the poet

This week guest contributor RANDY HENDRICKS, a University of West Georgia English professor, considers how friendship and place shape us.

Kent Greenfield and Robert Penn Warren were friends, best friends in boyhood but also friends for life. They were born three years apart in Guthrie, Kentucky. Greenfield had a six-year career in the major leagues as a right-handed pitcher, debuting in 1924 with John McGraw’s New York Giants. Warren distinguished himself not only as a poet but as a novelist, perhaps best known for his 1946 Pulitzer Prize winning novel “All the King’s Men.” How does little Guthrie give birth to two such prodigies at the same time?

Georgia parks and forests are a lasting legacy of FDR’s New Deal

This week guest contributors REN and HELEN DAVIS, Atlanta-based writers and photographers, look at the many public outdoor spaces we have in Georgia and the Depression-era investment that created or preserved them.

By Ren and Helen Davis

Seventy years ago, on April 12, 1945, the nation lost the president who led it out of the depths of the Great Depression and to near certain victory in World War II. When Franklin D. Roosevelt collapsed at his Warm Springs cottage, Georgians also lost a valued friend and neighbor. From the time of his arrival in 1924 to seek therapy for polio in the soothing springs and on through his years in the White House, this scion of wealth and New York aristocracy was transformed by his day-to-day experiences among the people of Warm Springs and Pine Mountain. All Americans, in turn, were forever changed by him.

What caused Georgia’s political shift on abortion?

This week, DANIEL K. WILLIAMS, a historian at the University of West Georgia, examines the evolution of Georgia’s — and the South’s — stance on abortion.

By Daniel K. Williams

In the late 1960s, Georgia and other southern states were bastions of social conservatism on almost all issues except one — abortion. In 1968, abortion laws in Georgia and North Carolina were more liberal than those in New York or Massachusetts, and it was easier to get a legal abortion in parts of the South than it was anywhere in New England.

Atlantans remember when war in the Middle East felt close to home

This week, DAVE SCHECHTER, a former CNN senior national editor, shares Atlanta’s connections to Israel’s Six-Day War, which occurred 50 years ago this June.

Fifty years ago, Atlanta’s Jewish community was on edge. As the 1967 calendar turned from May to June, the prospect of Israel fighting for its survival grew more likely, especially after Egypt ordered U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai peninsula in mid-May and then closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.

How Georgia remembers its soldiers’ sacrifices

This week, LAURA MCCARTY, of Georgia Humanities, explores Georgia’s role in the evolution of Memorial Day and how Georgia remembers its soldiers’ sacrifices today.

By Laura McCarty

It’s always an appropriate time to acknowledge the men and women of our military, but twice a year, we do so officially with Veterans Day and Memorial Day, both federal holidays. On the former, marked on November 11 (the date of World War I’s armistice), we turn our thoughts to all who serve or have served. On the latter, observed on the last Monday of May, we remember those who died while serving. Many Georgians commemorate these holidays via ceremonies, services, or other observances — a testament to our state’s strong military heritage, derived in part from Georgians who have played significant roles in the evolution of Memorial Day and the state’s long tradition of recognizing military sacrifice.

The philanthropic roots of Athens Academy

This week, PHILLIP BELLURY, founder and president of The Storyline Group, reflects on two educational institutions — Athens Academy and the University of Georgia — and the land on which they stand.

By Phillip Bellury

In my first job out of college, writing feature stories for Real Estate Atlanta magazine, I learned about the “highest and best use” for a given property. In the early ’70s, Atlanta’s suburban sprawl was in high gear, reaching outlying counties where raw acreage was used primarily for agricultural purposes. As real estate developers set their sights on those areas, the highest and best use of those properties shifted from farming to residential, office, or commercial development. Longtime residents often bemoaned the changes, questioning whether new subdivisions, office buildings and fast-food restaurants that marred the otherwise pristine landscape could actually be considered the highest and best use.

When Emory doctors went to war

In this column, members of Georgia Humanities and their colleagues take turns discussing Georgia’s history and culture, and other topics that matter. Through different voices, we hear different stories. This week, REN DAVIS, an Atlanta writer and photographer, shares a story of Georgia patriots — the physicians, nurses, and medical staff who answered the call of […]

The greatest generation of lawyers and the far-reaching impact of Emory Law School

This week, GARY HAUK, of Emory University, recognizes a generation of great legal minds educated at Emory Law School and the impact they had on Atlanta, Georgia, and the nation.

By Gary Hauk

Recently I have been pondering generational greatness. The phenomenon may not be real, but we at least have inklings of it in history — for instance, the generation of the American Revolution, which included some of the most brilliant, energetic, and far-seeing political leaders our continent has known; or the generation of plutocrats at the turn of the twentieth century, who, for all their apparent greed and frequent lack of compassion, built America’s great industries and left for posterity their massive collections of art, their estates, and their foundations; or the generation that Tom Brokaw termed “the greatest,” which survived the Great Depression and won World War II.

Civil war photography provides clues to Atlanta, then and now

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, of Georgia Humanities, examines Civil War photography of Atlanta for clues about its past.

By Allison Hutton

Those of us keen on Atlanta’s history, particularly its Civil War history, would be glad to see the city receive the full Ken Burns treatment, but we can learn plenty about the city — then and now — from the photos George N. Barnard took of it during its occupation by the Union army.

Atlanta United Football Club and its supporters are serious about Atlanta’s history

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, of Georgia Humanities, explores the way Atlanta United Football Club is staking a claim on Atlanta’s future by staking a claim on its past.

By Allison Hutton

Atlanta United is doing something very, very right and very, very interesting that has nothing to do with how the team is playing (though wins certainly don’t hurt).

How African American voters defeated racist Lester Maddox in the Atlanta mayoral race of 1961

This week, BRADLEY R. RICE, professor emeritus of history at Clayton State University, reflects on racism’s impact on Georgia elections in the 1960s and ’70s.

By Bradley R. Rice

In February Georgia Tech awarded the prestigious Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. At the gala event, the former president remarked that he and Allen had both run for office against Lester Maddox, the notorious segregationist who served as Georgia’s governor from 1967 to 1971. President Carter’s remark brought to mind Atlanta’s contentious 1961 mayoral contest when Allen courageously faced down Maddox and his anti-integration tirades.

World War I changed Georgia

This week, TOM JACKSON, Georgia World War I Centennial Commission, and LAURA MCCARTY, of Georgia Humanities, examine the changes World War I brought to Georgia and efforts across the state to commemorate the war.

By Tom Jackson and Laura McCarty

Those of a certain age – early Baby Boomers – grew up through the centennial of the War Between the States and were regaled with stories of Georgia’s role in it. Our parents were of “the Greatest Generation” who fought World War II, so we were well familiar with those stories as well. But when we note that April 6 this year marks the centennial of the United States’ entry into the “Great War,” some actually have to pause to think what war that might be.