Posts

077_Library-Book

She found what she wanted

They say it was Benjamin Franklin who uttered the oft repeated phrase that nothing is certain except death and taxes. He supposedly said that in reference to the life span of the recently written United States Constitution, which he felt had the appearance but not the certainty of permanency.

But surely there are other examples in life that are certain.

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Downtown became more challenging

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”  However, in true Henry Ford style, he did not ask for opinions and what we got was the “horseless carriage.” And the world has never been the same. Americans have long had a love affair with the […]

074_Edwin-Booth

A familiar face comes to town

“The play’s the thing.” You’ve heard that phrase. Shakespeare wrote it. Hamlet says it. So it must be true. And, though probably not in the same vein that Hamlet meant it, the play certainly was the thing when it came to 19th century Atlantans. Opera and the theatre captured the attention of 1800s Atlanta in […]

072_Benjamin-Harrison

Who among us hasn’t made a mistake

Mistakes are a part of life, that’s the way it is and that’s the way it has always been. “Errare Humanum Est,” to err is human. The hope is that our mistakes aren’t too visible and, in general, are of the minor variety and not of the George Custer variety. But it doesn’t always go […]

071_John-Heisman

A college football legend starts a tradition

They say that football is a contact sport. Those who’ve actually played the game disagree. Basketball, they say, is a contact sport…football is a collision sport. Football is a tough and strategic game and the difference between winning and losing on any given Sunday often comes down to a thin, undefinable characteristic. There are no […]

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It’s probably not what he had in mind

Atlanta’s history is intertwined with Atlanta’s religion. Houses of worship have not just been a presence in Atlanta, they have been one of the forces that helped shape and support our community. This week, we tell the tale of Leonard Broughton who came to Atlanta to lead a church and ended up building one of […]

063_Coke is Everywhere

Look! Up in the sky…

“Twinkle twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are.” You might ask, what in the world does a 19th century English lullaby have to do with a picture of a Coca-Cola sign stuck in the middle of nowhere? Good question, if you’re a first time viewer. But if you’ve been here before, you know […]

062_Doc Holliday

It’s a game of Six Degrees of Atlanta

This week we play a game of “connect the dots” as we trace the family connections of two famous Georgians who each played a role in Atlanta’s young but stellar past.  We start with the birth of Crawford Long in 1815 and take a brief look at why we all owe him a major debt of gratitude.  You […]

Sapelo Island. Courtesy of the Georgia Department of Economic Development

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.

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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.

059_Carrie-Berry

Once upon a time

What is it about stories? Myths, legends, folk tales, fairy tales, tall tales, sagas, yarns, it doesn’t matter what type of story. We are captivated by all of them. We always have been. It probably has something to do with the fact that a good story skips the brain and goes right to the heart. […]

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This should come as no surprise to anyone

If you had to pick just one occupation that people throughout the ages would recognize as a job, what would you pick? Yeah, us too. This week’s story is about those who work for a living. More accurately, it’s about those who worked for a living in 19th century Atlanta. This topic came about quite […]

Georgia's northern and western boundaries

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.

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In its day, it was a really big deal

At the corner of Peachtree and Carnegie Way there is an entrance to the Peachtree Center MARTA station. It hasn’t always been there, of course. Over one hundred years ago on that very same spot stood the Hotel Aragon, a six-story, 125-room establishment that opened for business in 1892. By all accounts, it was a […]

Flannery O'Connor and peafowl

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.

33rd USCT

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.