March 11

Roy Barnes

March 11, 1948 - Mableton, Atlanta

He was Georgia’s 80th governor and the only one to win a Profile in Courage award. Roy Barnes was born in Mableton in 1948 and at age 26 won a seat in the Georgia State Senate, where he served for 16 years. After an unsuccessful run for governor in 1990, he served six years in the Georgia House.

By the time Barnes became governor in 1998, the 50-year-old knew the inner workings of power in the State Assembly as well as anyone, and his legislative triumphs while governor earned him the nickname “King Roy” from friend and foe alike.

Barnes’s governorship was controversial: his educational initiatives and criticism of Georgia’s school’s alienated many teachers. His successful campaign to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag cost him votes and helped deny him a second term. But it did earn him the Kennedy Library’s Profile in Courage award.

The governor whose defeat brought in the first Republican governor since Reconstruction was born on March 11, 1948,Today in Georgia History.