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 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.

Literature at lunchtime and lost southern authors are on the menu this week for Atlanta readers

This week, PEARL MCHANEY, of Georgia State University, shares opportunities in Atlanta to step outside of the ordinary and into a good book.

By Pearl McHaney

Reading can be a private affair, but it can also be a significant factor in community engagement. The Southern Writers Onstage series, a happy collaboration of Georgia State University’s Center for Collaborative and International Arts and the Department of English, Theatrical Outfit, and Georgia Humanities, enlivens stories through performance. For one hour, young students, seniors from a community center in Fairburn, a few businesspeople, book clubbers, my neighbors from Decatur, actors and theater aficionados, a church pastor, one or two professors from Georgia State, a Healey Building resident, people seeking respite from their work — a heterogeneous group — gather in the Balzer Theater at Herren’s on Luckie Street, a storied place itself as the first downtown restaurant to integrate its tables. When one walks through the doors into the theater, views the lone podium on the stage transformed for a production by Theatrical Outfit, and sits, the crush of politics, decision making, and the business of daily work is replaced by a gentle hush.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is at work in Georgia

By Jamil Zainaldin

Last Thursday the White House released a budget that proposed the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). You may not be immediately familiar with its work, which grounds itself in disciplines that explore how people understand and express the human condition, such as history, literature, art, music, language, philosophy, and ethics, but you’ve felt its impact here in Georgia.

How propaganda changes the way people think

This week, ANNETTE LAING, public historian and author, examines the use and impact of propaganda during World War I.

By Annette Laing

Propaganda as we know it today was an invention of World War I. No previous war had ever required such a massive level of justification and suspension of disbelief. After war ignited in Europe in the summer of 1914, the corpses of young men piled up at a staggering rate. In a horrific meeting of barbed wire, mud, trenches, shells, machine guns, romanticized ideas of warfare, and fragile human bodies, the conflict required massive mobilization not only of troops but of public opinion.

Photographer Carolyn McKenzie Carter had her finger on the pulse of a changing Georgia

This week, LAURA MCCARTY, of Georgia Humanities, introduces Carolyn McKenzie Carter, whose work as a photographer, journalist, and tourism consultant whose work will be honored this week by Georgia Women of Achievement.

By Laura McCarty

The mid-twentieth century was a time of many profound changes in American society, many of them thanks to World War II. Women especially saw new opportunities. In Georgia many women, such as those who built airplanes at Bell Bomber, followed the example of “Rosie the Riveter” and joined the workforce in support of the war effort. As a photographer, journalist, and tourism consultant, Carolyn McKenzie Carter captured these changes, even as she participated in them as a professional woman.

The Chillon Project: bringing higher education to Georgia’s correctional facilities

This week, BRENDAN OZAWA-DE SILVA, of Life University shares Life University’s Chillon Project, which brings higher education to correctional facilities in Georgia.

By Brendan Ozawa-de Silva

As most of us know, the United States incarcerates more people than any other in the world, including China. Too often, incarcerated persons are viewed as having nothing to offer society, especially those serving long sentences or sentenced to life imprisonment. The Chillon Project shows that this isn’t true, that education is something that can benefit all — no matter who or where — and that the effects of that education can spread out in unexpected ways.

World War I, influenza, and stories of heartache

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, reflects on the “Spanish flu” of 1918-1919 and how it has been used to tell stories of wartime heartache.

The voice of the individual

This week, PEARL MCHANEY, of Georgia State University, encourages readers to listen for the voice of truth in the arts and humanities.

By Pearl McHaney

At the height of the Cold War, 1954, American fiction writer Eudora Welty found herself in Cambridge, England, speaking at an American Studies conference:

Mutual understanding in the world being nearly always, as now, at low ebb, it is comforting to remember that it is through art that one country can nearly always speak reliably to another, if the other can hear at all. Art, though, is never the voice of a country; it is an even more precious thing, the voice of the individual, doing its best to speak, not comfort of any sort, indeed, but truth.

Rich’s and the 1960 presidential election

This week, JEREMY KATZ, of the Breman Museum, recounts the role of Rich’s Department Store in the civil rights movement and its impact on the 1960 presidential election.

By Jeremy Katz

On February 22nd and February 26th, the Breman Museum will lead a Civil Rights Trolley Tour to several sites throughout downtown Atlanta related to Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement. One of the stops is outside the location of the former Rich’s Department Store where the famous clock is still affixed to what is now a federal building on the corner of Alabama and Broad Street. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Rich’s represents the quintessential shopping experience of 20th-century Atlanta.

Jeff Clemmons, an expert on the history of Rich’s who will be leading one of the tours, places recognizes the store’s significance in leveling the nation’s history. In his book, Rich’s: A Southern Institution, Clemmons asserts that John F. Kennedy would not have won the 1960 election against Richard Nixon if it were not for a sit-in held at Rich’s flagship downtown store.