twentieth century

January 8, 1911

Butterfly McQueen

Her fame rested on one indelible performance: a slave who lacked the midwifery skills to help Melanie Hamilton. Thelma McQueen was born in Florida in 1911. She moved to Augusta after her father abandoned the family. She studied acting, dance, and music in New York. Her nickname derived from a performance in the Butterfly Ballet […]

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 25, 1929

Fox Theatre Opens

It’s one of Georgia’s great architectural treasures, and it opened on Christmas day in 1929. The Fabulous Fox Theatre on the corner of Peachtree and Ponce de Leon was originally built as the meeting hall for the Shriners, which explains its Moorish design. The initial cost was $2.2 million but it took the money of […]

December 31, 1946

World War II and Georgia

World War II had a global impact and it transformed Georgia as well. Some 320,000 Georgians served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the war, and thousands of others, including historic numbers of women, served in wartime industries. The war brought an infusion of federal dollars into Georgia. Every major Georgia city housed a military […]

December 27, 1956

Jackie Robinson

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” The words of baseball great and civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson, who was born to a family of sharecroppers in Cairo, Georgia, in 1919. Robinson became the first athlete ever at UCLA to earn letters in four different sports. During World […]

December 21, 1911

Josh Gibson

He was known as the black Babe Ruth, and some consider him baseball’s all-time home run king. Josh Gibson was born in Buena Vista, Georgia, in 1911 and moved to Pittsburgh in the 1920s. He dropped out of trade school to play semi-professional baseball, and in 1930 joined the professional Negro Leagues, playing for the […]

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 15, 1939

Gone with the Wind Premiere

It is still one of the most popular films ever made, and its romanticized view of the Old South became firmly established in the popular imagination. Gone with the Wind was based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the film’s completion was miraculous in itself. It took 140 days, 5 directors, and 13 writers—including […]

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 […]