slavery

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August 15, 1864

First Black Soldiers in Combat in Georgia

It was the first time that African-American soldiers fought in the Civil War in Georgia. On this day in 1864, the 14th United States Colored Troops, mostly former slaves, fought off a Confederate cavalry attack near Dalton. Later, the 44th U.S. Colored troops were protecting the railroad through Dalton. Confederate General John Bell Hood attacked, […]

August 22, 1864

Slave Insurrection in Quitman

Georgians, like all Americans, were deeply divided by the Civil War. On August 22, 1864, four men were executed in Brooks County for conspiring to plot a slave insurrection. The conspirators were a local white man, John Vickery, and three slaves: Nelson, George and Sam. They planned to seize weapons, secure the county seat, Quitman, […]

July 15, 1854

George Towns

Political flip-flopping is nothing new. George Washington Bonaparte Towns began his political life as a staunch Unionist. Born in 1801 in Wilkes County, Towns’ career followed a familiar path in the antebellum South: lawyer, militia officer, and representative in the Georgia House and Senate, where he opposed the states rights politics of South Carolinian John […]

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 […]

May 11, 1803

Georgia’s First Land Lottery

Georgia’s lottery is nothing new. Between 1805 and 1833, the state held eight land lotteries. Seventy-five percent of Georgia was sold to roughly 100,000 people for bargain prices. As land-hungry Georgians began migrating westward after the American Revolution, the state negotiated treaties with the Creek and Cherokee tribes—or simply took their land—and then distributed the […]

May 13, 1846

Mexican War Begins

The Mexican War in 1848 triggered new and thorny issues in a country already beset with divisions between North and South. The war added 500,000 square miles of new western territory. Would the new territory be slave or free, and who would decide? Could Congress ban slavery from new territories or would settlers decide for […]

May 17, 1749

Slavery in Colonial Georgia

At a time when slavery thrived in the American colonies, Georgia, you may be surprised, was alone in banning it. But it wasn’t a moral decision. The Georgia Trustees prohibited slavery because it conflicted with their vision of small landowners prospering from their own labor. They also wanted Georgia to serve as a military buffer […]

April 30, 1825

William McIntosh

On this day in 1825, 200 Creek warriors set fire to a plantation house, and shot and stabbed the owner to death. The owner was William McIntosh, a Creek Indian chief killed by his own people. McIntosh was born around 1778 to a white Scotsman and a Creek woman. Though raised among the creeks, he […]

April 13, 1854

Lucy Craft Laney

To be African-American and born during slavery didn’t necessarily mean you were a slave. Lucy Craft Laney was born in 1854, but her father had purchased freedom for him and his wife. For Laney, freedom meant education. Able to read and write by age four and translate Latin by 12, she joined the first class […]

April 2, 1814

Henry L. Benning

A U.S. Army fort in Columbus is named for a man who waged war against the U.S. Army. Henry Benning, born in Columbia County, was one of Georgia’s most outspoken disunionists. During the sectional crisis of the 1850s, Benning defended slavery. He ran for Congress on a Southern rights platform and lost. But he found […]

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