Individual Development and Identity

December 5, 1932

Little Richard

Richard Wayne Penniman is not a name most people associate with the beginning of rock n’ roll, but few people did more to make rock one of the hearthstones of 20th-century American culture than the man known as Little Richard. Penniman was born into a family of 12 children in Macon and grew up singing […]

December 9, 1845

Joel Chandler Harris

Joel Chandler Harris was a New South journalist, a folklorist, and one of Georgia’s most famous authors. He was born in Eatonton in 1845. Like Ben Franklin, Harris learned to write by hand-setting newspaper type, working at Turnwold Plantation for Joseph Addison Turner. After working in Macon and Savannah, Harris went to work for Henry […]

November 27, 1809

Fanny Kemble

She was an outspoken opponent of slavery who married one of the largest slaveholders in the South. Frances Anne “Fanny” Kemble was born in London in 1809 in a family of actors, and she became an established actress herself. In Philadelphia in 1832 she met and eventually married Pierce Butler, a Georgia plantation owner with […]

November 29, 1991

Frank Yerby

An African-American with a best-selling novel — a book that was turned into a movie — that was unheard of in the America of the late 1940s. Yet Frank Yerby did just that. Born in Augusta in 1916 to racially mixed parents, Yerby, all his life, had trouble being accepted in either black or white […]

December 1, 1824

William Crawford

A man who killed a political opponent in a duel nearly became the first president from Georgia, long before Jimmy Carter. William Crawford began his political career in 1803 as a state legislator from Oglethorpe County. Even though he killed a political enemy in a duel in 1802, Crawford’s political star kept rising, with service […]

December 2, 1737

John Wesley

John Wesley lost his labor of love when he came to Georgia. The founder of the Methodist Church was born in England in 1703, becoming a strict man of God who spread the faith throughout England and America. Ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church in his mid-20s, Wesley and his brother Charles studied […]

November 18, 1909

Johnny Mercer

“Moon River,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “Accentuate the Positive” — Savannah native John Herndon Mercer wrote those songs and a thousand more like them, and his songs are some of the most popular of all time. In a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Mercer co-founded Capitol Records, wrote for Broadway musicals, and was nominated for 19 […]

November 19, 1938

Ted Turner

Known affectionately as the “Mouth of the South, he created a TV and sports empire that dramatically altered the media landscape. Robert Edward “Ted” Turner was born in Cincinnati in 1938. When he was nine, his family moved to Savannah. Turner took over his father’s billboard company after his father’s suicide and began expanding the […]

November 24, 1868

Robert Abbott

A Georgia native founded the most influential black newspaper of the 20th century. Robert Sengstacke Abbott was born on St. Simon’s island in 1868 and raised in Savannah. He attended law school in Chicago. When Abbott couldn’t find a job as a lawyer, he turned to journalism and founded the Chicago Defender. Within a decade […]

November 14, 1860

Alexander Stephens

The threat of secession hung heavy over the land eight days after Abraham Lincoln’s election. Alexander Stephens, who had known Lincoln from his days in Congress, addressed the Georgia General Assembly on this day in 1860. He told the legislature secession was premature. Alexander Hamilton Stephens, born in 1812 near Crawfordville, had been a dominant […]