Civic Ideals and Practices

March 19, 1806

James Jackson

It started as a swindle and ended up as a landmark Supreme Court case. In 1795, Georgia passed the Yazoo Land Act, selling 35 million acres of western land—most of present-day Alabama and Mississippi—to four land companies for $500,000, about 1.5 cents an acre, far below its value. Opponents cried foul: many legislators owned shares […]

March 20, 1907

Ellis Arnall

He’s the only person who ever beat Gene Talmadge. Ellis Arnall was born in Newnan in 1907. He earned a degree in Greek from the University of the South, and a law degree from the University of Georgia. He was a young man on the rise: elected to the state legislature at 25 and attorney […]

March 10, 1924

Tom Murphy

For 28 years, if Mr. Tom said no, state legislation didn’t pass. Tom Murphy was born in 1924 in Bremen and graduated from North Georgia College. He fought in the Pacific for the U.S. Navy in World War II, and then went to the University of Georgia Law School. Murphy entered the legislature in 1961. […]

March 11, 1948

Roy Barnes

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 […]

January 31, 1944

Thomas Hardwick

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, as we see in the story of former Georgia Governor Thomas Hardwick. Born in Thomasville in 1872, Hardwick served in the state legislature in the 1890s as a staunch advocate of disenfranchising black voters. Yet later, he lost an election by opposing the Ku Klux Klan. Hardwick also served […]

March 3, 1932

Joseph M. Brown

He was the son of a Georgia governor and served two terms as governor himself. Joseph M. Brown was born in Canton in 1851. His father Joseph E. Brown was Georgia’s controversial governor during the Civil War and one of the most accomplished politicians in Georgia history. “Little Joe Brown,” as his family called him, […]

March 2, 2005

Leah Ward Sears

She has been superior in a lot of courts. Leah Ward Sears was born into a military family in Germany in 1955. Her family eventually settled in Savannah. A graduate of Emory Law, Sears was working at an Atlanta law firm when Mayor Andrew Young appointed her to Atlanta’s traffic court. In 1988, at 32, […]

March 1, 1890

William B. Hartsfield

When you help guide a city through a depression and then, later, guide it through the civil rights era…when you are responsible for Atlanta’s becoming the aviation capital that it is…then it’s fair to say you’ve had an impact. William Hartsfield was mayor of Atlanta longer than any other person. He was born in Atlanta […]

February 22, 1862

Alexander Stephens

A vice presidency can be thankless at best. But when you don’t want the job, and you don’t get along with your president, it’s even worse. Georgia’s Alexander Stephens reluctantly supported secession in 1861. To his horror, he was elected Confederate vice president by the Provisional Congress, which hoped his election would persuade other Southern […]

February 13, 1956

Georgia Flag Change

It was not a flag that all Georgians could rally around. On this date in 1956, Governor Marvin Griffin signed legislation to change the Georgia flag to one that included the Confederate battle emblem on two-thirds of the banner. Democratic Party leader John Sammons Bell began the campaign a year earlier after two controversial Supreme […]