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.

Students tell the stories that make us a nation through National History Day

This week, DAVID A. DAVIS, a professor at Mercer University, explains the ways students grow when they take a closer look at history with National History Day.

Most Americans have a story about how their family came to this country. With the exception of Native Americans, most people who call themselves Americans can look back to a point when immigrants came to this country. Some came by choice, and some came by force. This is an important point, because not all of our stories are happy and heroic. We have stories about wars, disasters, diseases, and failures, but we also have stories about exploration, growth, human rights, and success. What makes us a nation is how these stories fit together in an overlapping narrative that defines the United States. What makes National History Day most important is the way these students learn to tell the stories that make us a nation.

A friend of America’s first presidents, Andrew Ellicott put Georgia on the map

This week, columnist WILLIAM J. MORTON, author of Andrew Ellicott: The Stargazer Who Defined America, introduces Andrew Ellicott, the early American surveyor who helped determine Georgia’s boundaries.

Andrew Ellicott and the state of Georgia? “Never heard of him” would be the response of most Georgians — and most Americans. Though understudied by historians, Andrew Ellicott’s work as a surveyor was respected by America’s early presidents, and he played a key role in determining boundaries within the young nation.

From ballpark to Ponce City Market, this magnolia has survived a century in the city

This week, CHRIS DOBBS, assistant editor of the New Georgia Encyclopedia, shares the story of the Ponce de Leon Ballpark magnolia tree, part two in our series of sports stories in association with Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, a traveling Smithsonian exhibition sponsored by Georgia Humanities.

The Ponce de Leon Ballpark magnolia tree, located near 650 Ponce de Leon Place, N.E., was recently named by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as one of the “20 Atlanta trees you should know” — with good reason. The tree is between 90 and 100 years old. It has a great view of the Atlanta Beltline, and over the past century, it’s had a great view of Atlantans working and relaxing together.

What Henry Grady can teach Atlanta about sustainable growth

This week guest contributor WILLIAM D. BRYAN, a Georgia State University professor of environmental history, explores the concept of “constructive, not destructive, development” devised by Georgia’s “New South” economic leaders.

It may seem counterintuitive to look to Henry Grady for advice about sustainability. As the famed editor of the Atlanta Constitution, Grady is best known as the spokesman for a “New South” of industrialism and urbanization after the Civil War — a vision that depended on intensively using valuable resources like soil, timber, and minerals to fuel economic growth. The poor environmental legacies of New South development are still evident, especially in Atlanta.

Cheers to collaboration: Oakland Cemetery creates a new beer with Red Brick Brewing Company

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, program coordinator at Georgia Humanities, shares the story of the special relationship between Atlanta’s oldest cemetery and its oldest brewery.

In the creation of a limited-edition beer for Tunes from the Tombs, Oakland Cemetery provides the featured ingredient and Red Brick Brewing Company provides the expertise.

“Remember Goliad:” Georgians in a desperate land

This week, JOSEPH H. KITCHENS, executive director of the Funk Heritage Center at Reinhardt University, remembers a group of Georgia soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

You may have heard that when Sam Houston’s forces defeated the Mexican army in 1836, freeing Texas from Mexican control, their battle cry was “Remember the Alamo!” They also shouted “Remember Goliad!” in honor of James Walker Fannin Jr. and group of soldiers from Georgia who had been massacred at “the other Alamo.”

How Georgia influenced FDR

This week, KAYE LANNING MINCHEW, retired director of the Troup County Archives, introduces her new book, A President in Our Midst: Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia, a co-publication of Georgia Humanities and the University of Georgia Press.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt “discovered” Warm Springs, Georgia, and its beneficial warm waters in 1924 as he sought to overcome the effects of polio. He grew to love the state and its people, and returned many times over the next 21 years.

National Archives hosts Atlanta conversation about individual rights and our constitution

This week, guest columnist JIM GARDNER, executive for Legislative Archives, Presidential Libraries, and Museum Services at the National Archives, discusses an upcoming program at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

In commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, the National Archives is launching its “National Conversation on Rights and Justice” with a two-day program in Atlanta at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

Heroes, dogs, and the wet nose of justice

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, of Georgia Humanities, introduces Melissa Fay Greene’s forthcoming book, The Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love.

“Our bond with dogs is an ancient facet of our humanity,” claims Melissa Fay Greene, award-winning author of The Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love, forthcoming from Ecco/Harper-Collins on May 17.

Two Jewish brothers helped integrate sports in Atlanta, making way for the Braves, “America’s Team”

This week, in honor of Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America, a traveling Smithsonian exhibition sponsored by Georgia Humanities, MARK K. BAUMAN, editor of Southern Jewish History, and JEREMY KATZ, director of the Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History of the Breman Museum, share a story about Atlanta’s hometown team, the Braves.

The color barrier for major league baseball was broached when Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in April 1947. A few months later, Larry Doby donned the uniform of the Cleveland Indians. Numerous challenges lay ahead for integrated teams and the segregated South.

How Atlanta Remembers

This week, ALLISON HUTTON, program coordinator at Georgia Humanities, explores the ways Atlanta remembers the Holocaust.

What — and how — does Atlanta remember? Recent years have seen Atlanta remember the Civil War through battle reenactments, exhibitions, and lectures on the occasion of the war’s sesquicentennial. Anniversaries notwithstanding, Atlanta’s Civil War past has always been important, as demonstrated by the city seal. The dates on the seal, 1847 and 1865, reference Atlanta’s beginning and its re-beginning, respectively. The motto spanning the top of the seal, resurgens (Latin for “rising again”), references Atlanta’s postwar recovery after being burnt by Sherman’s Union forces in November 1864. The seal’s mythical phoenix, rising from the flames, points to a connection between tragedy and triumph, the latter made all the more meaningful by the former.

Sapelo Island midwife among those honored at annual Georgia Women of Achievement induction ceremony

This week, guest columnist BETTY HOLLAN, executive director of Georgia Women of Achievement, recognizes the achievements of Sapelo Island midwife Katie Hall Underwood.

If you visited Sapelo Island from 1920 until 1968, you may have seen a strong, lean woman briskly walking from one end of the island to the other, a long seven-mile stretch, her mind set on delivering another baby into this world. Born into a family of freed slaves in 1884, Katie Hall Underwood was the last of a long line of Sapelo midwives. Her skilled hands and soothing demeanor brought generations of proud Gullah-Geechee people into the world.

Atlanta hosts Irish centenary celebrations

This week, guest columnist MARILYNN RICHTARIK, professor of English at Georgia State University shares the story of Ireland’s Easter Rising of 1916 and the ways Atlanta is commemorating its centenary.

100 years ago this month, after a small group of activists seized key buildings in central Dublin during the Easter Monday holiday, poet and schoolmaster Patrick Pearse stood outside the rebels’ headquarters in the General Post Office and read aloud a Proclamation declaring an Irish Republic to a handful of bemused passers-by. Within days, the British Army had quashed the Rising; within weeks its most prominent leaders had been summarily executed. This brutal reaction, though, turned what had been a fringe movement in favor of the complete separation of Britain and Ireland into a popular cause with martyrs. As Irish poet W. B. Yeats put it in “Easter, 1916,” a “terrible beauty” had been born.

How Georgia got its northern boundary – and why we can’t get water from the Tennessee River

This week, guest columnist WILLIAM J. MORTON, author of The Story of Georgia’s Boundaries: A Meeting of History and Geography, shares the story of Georgia’s mismeasured northern boundary.

What does Georgia — more specifically, Atlanta — need to thrive? Today, like many large and expanding metropolitan areas across the United States, it needs water. The drought of 2008 in Georgia brought renewed attention to the fact that if the Georgia/Tennessee boundary had been properly surveyed along the 35th latitude, then plenty of water from the Tennessee River would be available for Georgia’s citizens. This is the story of Georgia’s mismeasured northern boundary.

According to the peafowl: Andalusia Farm and Flannery O’Connor’s birds

This week, guest columnist ALLISON HUTTON, program coordinator at Georgia Humanities, examines how Andalusia Farm, former home of author Flannery O’Connor, uses animals to tell Georgia’s story.

In the children’s book Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows have found a typewriter and have taken to writing him letters about conditions in the barnyard. With the exception of the Chick-fil-A cows decorating billboards that line the interstate, there have been no reports of literate cows in Georgia (yet). Still, animals are an essential — and charming — part of the way that many Georgia museums and historic sites tell their stories.

Susie King Taylor: Civil War nurse and early social justice activist

This week, guest columnist HERMINA GLASS-HILL, a public historian, explores the transformation of Susie King Taylor, a Civil War nurse, into a an early social justice activist and racial uplift advocate.

Susie Baker King Taylor, born in 1848 in Liberty County, is celebrated as the only African American woman ever to have written an autobiography of her enlistment and service as a teacher and a nurse in the first all-black regiment in the history of the U.S. army. Yet very little has been written about her private emotions, frustrations, and disappointments. These aspects of Taylor’s life resonate very deeply within my own spirit, and are just as compelling as her public achievements.

Changing lives, perspectives, and cities: a GSU Study Abroad program

This week, guest columnist TANYA CALDWELL, Georgia State University professor of English, shares the special connection between Atlanta and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

By Tanya Caldwell

Jimmy Carter’s outstanding legacy is his work in developing understanding between different peoples. A little of that work is being done annually at Georgia State University as a direct result of President Carter’s first foreign visit to Newcastle-upon-Tyne on May 6, 1977.

Historic Georgia landscapes in bloom

This week guest columnist GLENN T. ESKEW, a Georgia State University professor, explores historic landscapes.

For the second time, the inclement weather had passed north of Atlanta, and I found myself heading south to attend yet another history conference. The academic year was in full swing, and scholars like the winter months for symposia. Rather than take the interstate, I prefer riding back roads and drove down Georgia Highway 15 through the old Cotton Belt.

It’s time for music in Georgia

This week, guest columnist STANLEY ROMANSTEIN of Georgia State University makes a case for supporting the music industry in Georgia.

How do we create and promote a viable, growing, sustainable music industry in our state? Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller first put that question to the Georgia General Assembly in 1978 by naming both a Senate Music Recording Industry Study Committee and a Music Recording Industry Advisory Committee.

Celebrating southern songwriter Johnny Mercer

This week guest columnist GLENN T. ESKEW, discusses Johnny Mercer’s connection to the Great American Songbook and Georgia State University.

On Friday, February 26 at 8 p.m. Georgia State University will hold its biannual Mercer Celebration at the Rialto Center for the Arts with a performance by trumpeter Joe Gransden joined by vocalist Kathleen Bertrand and the Georgia State University Big Band. With this concert, Georgia State University celebrates native son Johnny Mercer, as well as its own good fortune in housing Mercer’s memorabilia, donated to the university by his widow, Ginger, in June 1981.