government

August 24, 1942

Max Cleland

A Georgia hero was born in Atlanta on this day in 1942. Joseph Maxwell Cleland — “Max” — grew up in Lithonia. While enrolled at Emory, Cleland joined the Army and went to Vietnam. On April 8, 1968, Capt. Cleland was serving in the 1st Cavalry Division at Khe Sanh when he lost both legs […]

August 8, 1899

William Yates Atkinson

Not many governors had to prove their courage by facing down a lynch mob. William Yates Atkinson did. The two-term governor was one of Georgia’s most progressive voices in an era known more for racial demagogues. Born in 1854 in Oakland, Ga., Atkinson practiced law in Newnan in 1893, he became one of Georgia’s youngest […]

August 12, 1909

Boll Weevil in Georgia

How much would you pay to kill a pest? On this day in 1909, the Georgia General Assembly formally asked the U.S. Congress for a $5 million prize to the first person to eliminate the boll weevil. This was six years before the cotton–consuming pest even appeared in Georgia. Cotton had been Georgia’s premier staple […]

July 16, 1963

Carl Vinson

Carl Vinson believed public service was an honorable profession, and by the time he retired, he had served in Congress longer than anyone in history. Vinson was born in Baldwin County in 1883. In 1914 he became the youngest member of Congress and served over 50 years, 25 consecutive terms. Vinson became an expert on […]

August 1, 1866

John Ross

He was known as the Cherokee Moses, the man who fought against the removal of Cherokee Indians from north Georgia. Though Chief John Ross was only one-eighth Cherokee, he grew up steeped in Cherokee culture. He was born in 1790 at Turkey Town, on the Coosa River, near present–day Center, Alabama. As a young man, […]

August 2, 1776

Georgia Delegates Sign Declaration of Independence

Georgia joined The United States on August 2, 1776, the same day that Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. The declaration was approved on July 4, but signed by only one man that day, John Hancock. Fifty other delegates to the 2nd Continental Congress signed on August […]

July 21, 1861

Francis Bartow

Francis Bartow had it all—a law career, a senator for a father-in-law, wealth in plantations and slaves, political rank and military ambitions. But he risked it all on the battlefield and became the first high-ranking Georgian to be killed in the Civil War. Bartow was born in 1816 in Savannah. His marriage to the daughter […]

July 26, 1827

Cherokee Constitution

In the 1820s, the Cherokee nation was carving out a permanent, sovereign home within the United States. Using Sequoyah’s Cherokee syllabary, the tribe could boast almost total literacy. Written laws led to the formation of a Cherokee Supreme Court. New Echota, near present day Calhoun, was established as the authorized capital of the Cherokee nation, […]

July 13, 1890

John C. Fremont

Abraham Lincoln was not the first Republican presidential candidate. It was Georgia native John Frémont who ran four years before Lincoln. Born in Savannah in 1813, Fremont graduated from the College of Charleston. South Carolina diplomat Joel Poinsett got Fremont appointed to the Army’s topographical engineers, and his life’s work was set. Fremont surveyed and […]

July 14, 1976

Jimmy Carter Presidential Nomination

Jimmy who? Jimmy Carter, the original “Washington outsider” to run for the presidency, was still governor of Georgia when he announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in December 1974. Constitutionally barred from a second term as governor and still young at 50, Carter thought his outsider status, strong principles, and reform agenda […]