New park helps small city’s residents discover ‘greene’ space and forgotten son of the New South

This week guest contributor BRIAN BRODRICK, city councilman in Watkinsville and Georgia Humanities board member, calls for the memory of Atticus Haygood to be pulled from the shadow of New South spokesman Henry Grady and brought out to our public space.

The name — Atticus Greene Haygood — conjures images of To Kill a Mockingbird and old Georgia, which are both appropriate.

On the right side of history — how a modest experiment in interracial community leaves a lasting impression on Habitat for Humanity

Clarence Jordan, from a distinguished Georgia family of politicians and community leaders, began a career in the 1930s as a Baptist minister. A rising star, he had a reputation for distinction that was spreading throughout the state and the South. With time, any pulpit or university appointment could be his.

The Namesake

Two missionary teachers, a newly founded school for Atlanta women, and the world-renowned industrialist whose surprise visit changed everything…This is the story of how a well known Atlanta institution got its name.


Obscure inventor, quirky museum plow roots of television

Rigby, Idaho—Life before television lies in stark relief here in this small high desert town (pop. 4000) in southeastern Idaho. Its claim to fame is the birthplace of TV, where a teenaged farm boy first thought up the technology to carry images through the air into our homes.

The story is told at the quirky Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum, which itself could be a destination for the Travel Channel. In this converted hotel, amid the animal trophies, retro beauty shop mannequins and collections of barbed wire, you can find his quintessentially American hard-luck inventor story. Philo Farnsworth believed he could invent a device to transmit pictures and sound over long distance, and he did it without getting much credit or fortune.

Fort McPherson area rich in human rights history, poor in redevelopment

Juanita Crater knows what she doesn’t want to happen at Fort McPherson – for redevelopment to dawdle so long the federal government decides to use the post to house large numbers of the homeless, or undocumented immigrants.

History both recent and distant underscores the relevance of concerns raised by Crater, a senior citizen of East Point who lives near the fort and is viewed as a local historian. The fort and its surroundings are not thriving; federal law requires the site to house the homeless; the fort has served as a stockade.

Chattahoochee River past, present: Two speakers part of Paddle Georgia

Two local authorities are on deck to talk about the past and present roles of the Chattahoochee River in as part of the annual Paddle Georgia festival.

The speakers are Tom Baxter, a political correspondent with SaportaReport, and Clarke Otten, a Civil War historian who focuses on Sandy Springs and overlooked aspects of the war – such as how the Union army crossed the river.

The free events are scheduled June 23 and 24 along the banks of the river at Riverview Landing, a former industrial tract in Mableton that’s to be retooled into a mixed-use community by the company redeveloping Ponce City Market in Atlanta.

After Civil War, Atlanta’s leaders were ready to return to business, says upcoming speaker at History Center

The way Decatur historian Wendy Venet tells the story, Atlanta residents were weary of the Civil War by the time Union General William T. Sherman advanced on the city and “schmoozed” the Union general who presided over the city during Reconstruction.

“After 1863, loyalty becomes a highly contested issue in Atlanta,” Venet said. “It took a variety of forms including acts of lawlessness, particularly the draft, people hiding horses or mules to keep them from being impressed. So by the time Sherman seized the city in 1864, Atlanta was becoming unglued.”

Chickamauga Battlefield to benefit from “complete streets” project

Visitors to the sacred grounds in the Chickamauga Battlefield in northwest Georgia will enter the park along an enhanced gateway in Fort Oglethorpe once the state completes a project that’s just received a $3 million federal grant

Casualties numbered 34,000 in the three-day Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. The losses were second during the Civil War only to the 51,000 recorded the previous July at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Today, the main road leading to the battlefield is flanked by towering power lines and disjointed commercial developments. The federal grant will pay for a retooling of 0.8 mile of LaFayette Road to improve its appearance and use by pedestrians and bicyclists.


War and cornbread make for savory history

Samuel McKittrick’s Civil War correspondence described the food at the front line, and highlights were read last week at  “Cornbread Through the Ages,” one of 50 anniversary programs marking the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta last week.

His great-great-granddaughter Millie Huff Coleman, a dietary anthropologist and lifelong Atlantan, wore a period costume as she read from his letters. She also served up a savory taste for the audience members at the DeKalb History Center from two skillets filled with cornbread made in the style of different historical eras.

Letters and cornbread connected McKittrick's separate worlds of home and combat. From the battlefront near Marietta, he expressed his fears and expectations that he was going to die, instructions on the upkeep of the farm as well as a belief in the afterlife.

Cutting experts at Georgia Archives severs our access to history

Threats to close the Georgia Archives put all of us at risk of losing access to critical records – and people.

Now more than ever, skilled information diggers, collectors and guides are needed to verify the story that begins where memory and Google end. Like blacksmiths were in the early days of the automobile, the work of archivists has transformed in the information age. They’ve grown more indispensable to saving what is easily lost and finding what cannot be replaced.

While the governor pledged last week to keep the Archives from closing, seven archivists on its staff face their jobs ending Nov. 1. Their peers around the state rallied last week at the Georgia Capitol to tell legislators how important this repository and its keepers are to all of us. Supporters also collected 10,000 signatures on a petition given to the governor.