legislature

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 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 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 28, 1913

Leo Frank Trial

Leo Frank went on trial for his life on this day in 1913. Frank, a New York Jew, was manager of the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta, accused of raping and murdering a 13-year-old employee named Mary Phagan. He was the last person to acknowledge having seen Phagan alive, and police arrested him despite strong […]

July 18, 2000

Paul Coverdell

He was the first Republican Senator from Georgia since Reconstruction, but he made sure he wouldn’t be the last. Paul Coverdell was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1939 and moved to Atlanta in his teens. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Coverdell served in the Army and returned to Atlanta to work for […]

June 26, 1918

Prohibition – Georgia Ratifies 18th Amendment

Americans may love individual liberties, but there is a social engineering streak in some of us a mile wide—and when reformers can’t persuade, they try to pass laws. Prohibition in the United States goes back to the 1820s and 30s, during the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening. Evangelical Protestants organized both temperance […]

June 29, 1993

Georgia Lottery Began

This could be your lucky day and not just because you’re reading this. In Georgia, lotteries have been around since the 18th century. Indian lands were distributed through a lottery in the 19th century. Governor Zell Miller campaigned promising an education lottery, and in 1991 the legislature passed an amendment to Georgia’s constitution that designated […]

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 […]

June 6, 1861

Joseph Terrell

He was known as Georgia’s education governor, though he never attended college himself. Joseph Terrell was born in Meriwether County in 1861 and became a lawyer by studying with a Greenville, Ga., attorney. At 23, he won a seat in the Georgia House and was in the Georgia Senate before he turned 30. Terrell supported […]

June 10, 2004

Georgia on My Mind

Hoagy Carmichael. Ray Charles. Two musicians, one from Indiana, one from Georgia, with at least one wonderful thing in common: “Georgia on My Mind.” In 1930, Carmichael wrote the music and Stuart Gorrell the lyrics to a song some think is about Carmichael’s sister Georgia—the lyrics are ambiguous enough to be about a woman or […]