Civil Rights

August 28, 1963

Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

It was 17 minutes that changed history. On August 28, 1963, native Georgian Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington. The speech is widely regarded as one of the most eloquent and memorable in American history. The March on Washington, coordinated by A. Phillip Randolph, […]

August 31, 1992

Charles Weltner

He was a Georgia congressman who courageously spoke out for racial equality at a time when few white leaders did. Charles Weltner was born in 1927 in Atlanta and graduated from Columbia School of Law before a stint in the U.S. Army. As an Atlanta lawyer, he spoke out against racial violence in the wake […]

August 13, 1921

Georgia Women Gain Vote

The women of Georgia finally got the right to vote on this day in 1921 when Governor Thomas Hardwick signed the act that made it official. The suffrage movement had been slow to gain ground in the South. Many women joined men in arguing that there was no more important job than wife and mother, […]

August 23, 1961

Desegregation in Atlanta

When four African Americans came to Atlanta’s Bitsy Grant Tennis Center on this day in 1961, they found a sign waiting for them: closed for repairs. White Atlantans fiercely resisted desegregating the city’s parks, pools, and golf courses. City buses had always been contested terrain but Atlanta’s recreational facilities had by long custom been “whites […]

July 2, 1964

Civil Rights Act of 1964

It was one of the most far-reaching Congressional acts in American history. In 1954, the Supreme Court weighed in in a big way against legalized bigotry. Its landmark decision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education outlawed segregated schools. But the invigorated civil rights movement ran head-on into Massive Resistance, a resurgent KKK, and white […]

July 8, 1941

Hamilton Holmes

He was valedictorian of his high school class but the University of Georgia wouldn’t let him in. Hamilton Holmes was born in 1941 in Atlanta, the grandson of a doctor. After Holmes’ 1959 graduation from Atlanta’s Henry McNeal Turner High School, Jesse Hill of the NAACP recruited him and fellow Turner grad Charlayne Hunter to […]

June 24, 1840

Mary Latimer McLendon

Prohibition and voting rights for women: they were the twin passions of Mary Latimer McLendon. Mary Latimer was the younger sister of outspoken suffragist Rebecca Latimer Felton. She was born in DeKalb County in 1840 and graduated from the Southern Masonic Female College in Covington. After the Civil War, McLendon became active in the Women’s […]

June 13, 1977

James Earl Ray

The man who assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a small-time crook with big ambitions. James Earl Ray was born in Alton, Illinois, in 1928. After spending some time in the Army, he robbed gas stations and grocery stores. First convicted in 1949, Ray was serving a 20-year prison sentence in Missouri when he […]

June 17, 1992

Grace Towns Hamilton

She was the first African-American woman elected to the Georgia Legislature. Grace Towns Hamilton was born in Atlanta in 1907. She graduated from Atlanta University in 1927 before earning a masters degree in psychology from Ohio State. Hamilton taught college for the next decade before she was appointed executive director of the Atlanta Urban League […]

May 18, 1928

Pernell Roberts

As an actor, he was defined by two roles: the eldest of Ben Cartwright’s sons and the chief of medicine at a San Francisco hospital. Pernell Roberts was born in Waycross in 1928. He attended Georgia Tech and the University of Maryland with a two-year stint in the Marines in between. Roberts made his stage […]