Individual Development and Identity

September 17, 1994

“Ma” Rainey

Macon usually gets top billing when it comes to Georgia’s musical heritage, but Columbus has a trump card – “Ma” Rainey, the “Mother of the Blues,” who was honored on this day in 1994 by the U.S. Postal Service.  Gertrude “Ma” Rainey was born in 1886 in Columbus, where she first started performing in vaudeville […]

September 23, 1930

Ray Charles

What Georgian doesn't feel a tinge of pride every time we hear Ray Charles sing “Georgia on my Mind”?  It's Georgia's official state song, and maybe the reason it sounds especially soulful is that Charles was singing about home.  Born in Albany, Ray Charles Robinson later changed his name to avoid confusion with boxer “Sugar” […]

September 13, 1922

Viola Ross Napier and Bessie Kempton Crowell

It was a giant step forward for Georgia women on this day in 1922.   Viola Napier of Bibb County and Bessie Kempton Crowell of Fulton County became the first women elected to the General Assembly. They hit the milestone only two years after the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote.  Napier was […]

September 4, 1932

Vince Dooley

When you think Georgia Bulldogs, you probably think Vince Dooley. The legendary football coach’s long shadow didn’t just touch the University of Georgia, but collegiate athletics across the country. Dooley played football for coach Shug Jordan at Auburn University. He also earned a degree in business and a master’s in history there. After his Marine […]

September 7, 1923

Louise Suggs

One of the world’s greatest women golfers, Mae Louise Suggs, was born in Atlanta. Comedian Bob Hope nicknamed her “Miss Sluggs.” Golfer Ben Hogan called her the “sweet–swinging Georgia Miss.” Louise Suggs grew up in a sporting family. She began playing golf at age 10 and won eight championships during her amateur career. In the […]

September 9, 1941

Otis Redding

When the hit song, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” went to number one on the charts in 1968, the artist who wrote and sang it had been dead for four months. Otis Redding became one of the most influential and popular soul musicians of all time. He was born in Dawson. When his […]

September 10, 1836

Joseph Wheeler

He would serve under the Stars and Stripes and the Stars and Bars in major wars. Born in Augusta, Joseph Wheeler graduated near the bottom of his class at West Point. He earned the nickname “Fighting Joe” in the U.S. Army on the western frontier. But his courage and skill as a Confederate cavalry commander […]

September 11, 1894

Helen Douglas Mankin

An ambulance driver, a lawyer and the first woman elected to Congress from Georgia* — all stops along the way for Helen Douglas Mankin. Mankin was the daughter of two lawyers. She drove an ambulance in France during World War I, and then graduated from Atlanta Law School, which her father helped found. She and […]

September 19, 1868

The Camilla Massacre

Long before “bloody Sunday” in Selma, Georgia had a much bloodier civil rights event – the Camilla Massacre. On this day in 1868, during Reconstruction, a political rally in Mitchell County resulted in about a dozen freedmen being killed and 30 other wounded. Georgia had just been readmitted to the Union, but blacks and whites […]

September 6, 1905

Alonzo Herndon

He began life as a slave but, at 47, Alonzo Herndon started the company that became one of America’s most successful black-owned businesses. Alonzo Franklin Herndon was born in Social Circle, the son of a black mother and a white owner. With just a year of formal education, he opened a barbershop in Jonesboro in […]