Individual Development and Identity

January 4, 1905

Sterling Holloway

You may not have known his name, but you couldn’t miss his voice, especially when he played a small cartoon bear — and that was just one of over 150 movies and TV shows Sterling Holloway did. Holloway was born in 1905 in Cedartown. He attended the Georgia Military Academy before moving on to New […]

December 28, 1856

Woodrow Wilson

The first Southerner in the White House after the Civil War grew up in Georgia, and knew the war firsthand. Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia in 1856. Not long after, his family moved to Augusta, where his father pastored the First Presbyterian Church for 12 years. Young Tommy Wilson grew up in a […]

December 30, 1851

Asa Candler

He took Coca-Cola from the drug store to Main Street, and endowed a great university. Asa Candler was born in Villa Rica in 1851. While working as a pharmacist in Atlanta in 1887 he bought the rights and formula for Coca-Cola from John Pemberton for $2,300. Candler thought the concoction’s future was a soft drink […]

December 20, 1994

Dean Rusk

The second Georgian to serve as Secretary of State was a prime architect of the Vietnam War. Dean Rusk was born in Cherokee County in 1909. A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford prior to World War II, Rusk strongly opposed appeasement of Hitler, a position towards tyranny that would shape his worldview all his life. Rusk […]

December 17, 1903

Erskine Caldwell

His novels captured the desperation of poverty in Georgia and seared that image into the American psyche. Erskine Caldwell was born in Coweta County in 1903, the son of a home missionary. Caldwell witnessed firsthand the grinding poverty of poor blacks and whites. He wanted his writing to bring their plight to the wider world. […]

December 16, 1769

Jesse Mercer

He wrote the section of Georgia’s constitution that guarantees religious liberty to its citizens. Jesse Mercer was born in North Carolina in 1769 and migrated to Georgia with his family as a child. A preacher’s son, he was ordained a Baptist minister and was a gifted preacher who pastored seven churches in his life, several […]

December 14, 1920

Charley Trippi

The greatest college football player ever? Bear Bryant said he was. Even if he did play for Georgia. Charley Trippi was born in Pennsylvania in 1920. The young athlete caught the attention of a former Georgia Bulldog who ran a Coca-Cola bottling plant near Trippi’s home. He offered Trippi a scholarship to play football at […]

December 12, 1897

Lillian Smith

She was one of the first prominent white Southerners to denounce segregation, and she was a controversial figure all her life. Lillian Smith was born in Florida in 1897 and moved to Georgia as a teenager. After a stint in China, she began to speak out against Jim Crow, calling segregation “spiritual lynching.” From her […]

December 11, 1944

Brenda Lee

Her signature song was “I’m Sorry” but there was nothing sorry about the career of Brenda Lee…one of the first singers to be launched to stardom by the new medium of TV. She was born Brenda Mae Tarpley in Atlanta and grew up in Conyers and Lithonia. She won a talent show at age five […]

December 6, 1889

Robert Woodruff

Coca-Cola is now a worldwide phenomenon, but the man responsible took over when the company was still struggling. Robert Woodruff was born in Columbus in 1889 and attended but didn’t graduate from Emory College. He took a job in sales with the White Motor Company, where he quickly climbed the corporate ladder. His father was […]