35 Broad Street

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on July 4, 2020









PG was having a delightfully slack afternoon, The one productive activity was editing pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. In box seventy two of “corporate bodies”, in the Lane Brothers archive, there was a picture commissioned by King Road Marker Company. It displayed a brand new crosswalk, over Marietta Street at the intersection of Broad Street. The picture was taken at 1:51 p.m. September 27, 1954. This is a repost.

The time caught PG’s eye. 1:51 is one of the times used to display clocks and watches in advertising. Most ads use 10:09. This arrangement of the hour and minute hands makes a welcoming gesture. This allows the logo of the watch to be visible, and is thought to encourage the viewer to purchase the timepiece. The shadows on the buildings indicate that the picture was shot in early afternoon.

The clock with the magic time advertised the C&S national bank. The building behind the clock was the headquarters of that bank. In 1954, Citizens and Southern bank was a prime player in the Atlanta market. (PG’s dad said that C&S stood for choke’m and squeez’m.) At some point, C&S merged with NCNB to become Nationsbank, which was later absorbed by Bank Of America.

C&S kept it’s headquarters at 35 Broad Street for many years after competitors built trophy buildings. Their were constant rumors about where the C&S highrise was going to go. Finally, C&S Plaza was built at Peachtree and North Avenue, a mile north of five points. The building was to become the tallest building in America outside of New York and Chicago. During the construction of this building, C&S became part of Nationsbank, and later Bank of America.

The picture is featured in Atlanta Time Machine. The building is now owned by Georgia State University, with a BOA branch on the first floor.
The banking hall is spectacular. It was designed by Philip Shutze, before the great depression. Here is more information.
Nations Bank Building (Citizens and Southern National Bank Building, Empire Building)
35 Broad Street, NW 1901: Bruce and Morgan, Architects, NR.
Remodeling of Lower Floors and Interiors 1929:
Hentz, Adler and Shutze, Architects; Philip Shutze, Designer
Fourteen stories high, the Nations Bank Building was the first steel-frame structure to be built in Atlanta. Its clear-cut silhouette, simple fenestration, and heavily decorated terra-cotta top bear the influence of the Chicago School. In 1929 the building became the headquarters of the Citizens and Southern National Bank, which asked Philip Shutze to redesign its three lower floors. Because the impression of load-bearing masonry was regarded as better suited for a banking establishment than large glass panes were, the original display windows were replaces by classical motifs apparently “carved out” of Indiana limestone.
Philip Shutze was inspired by Italian Mannerism, and especially by the city gates of Verona by Michele Sanmichelo (1484-1559) … Reached from Marietta and Walton streets through lofty arcaded entryways and a more intimate elevator lobby in the early Renaissance style on Broad Street, the banking hall is a long nave articulated by colossal Corinthian pilasters. While its walls and floors feature several kinds of Georgia, Tennessee, and European marbles in a warm gold-brown color scheme, the ceiling, from which hang gigantic chandeliers, is left bare. The Pantheon, which Shutze had measured during his internship at the American Academy in Rome, served as direct source for the pedimented niches, and for the floors with alternate square and circular patterns. Also, of Roman inspiration are the bronze desks and the eagle motif found throughout the design.








Close The Blinds

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on July 3, 2020

July 3, 1981

Posted in GSU photo archive, History by chamblee54 on July 3, 2020








July 3, 1981, was another day before a holiday. The new President, Ronald Reagan, was recovering from gunshot wounds. There was talk of an era of conservatism, with possibly severe repression.

There was an article in the New York Times. RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS. “Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis…”

This was the media debut of AIDS. It would not have that name for a while. Almost nobody thought, on that summer day, just how bad AIDS would be. In five years it was obvious how serious AIDS was.

article-02 PG was on another trip to the west coast. It was becoming obvious that this would be a vacation, rather than a relocation. He was riding a bicycle, with a milk carton overloaded with camping gear. Some kids told him to get saddle bags, and carry the weight lower. If you have the weight on top, you would lose control coming down a big hill. PG did not listen to the kids.

On July 4, PG left Patrick’s Point state park, about 300 miles north of San Francisco. Coming down the first hill on highway 101, the bike shook, shook harder, and flipped on its side. PG was thrown off. The front wheel was bent beyond repair. PG gathered his gear, left the bike behind, and got a ride into the nearest town.

PG got a bus ticket to Seattle. That city was in an economic downturn, with less than half a page of help wanted ads. PG found a auto delivery service, and got a VW bug going to Oak Ridge, TN. In a few days he was in Atlanta. A few days later, a temp agency came up with a job as a driver for a blueprint company. PG worked for that company, in one form or another, for the next 24 years.

As for the gay men with Kaposi’s Sarcoma … in all probability, the patients mentioned in that article were all dead within a year. AIDS has become a dominating story in our time. At its worst, it was claiming 50,000 lives a year. With the advent of wonder drugs, the death toll has been greatly reduced. The impact of AIDS on American life cannot be adequately described. This is a repost.

Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Lawrence K. Altman is still writing articles for the New York Times.









James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word

Posted in Library of Congress, Quotes, Race by chamblee54 on July 2, 2020

In the spring of 1963, KQED filmed a show, “Take this hammer”, about James Baldwin. The snippet in the video above seems to have been the last three minutes of the show. Here is a transcript. Mr. Baldwin discusses a six letter insult. The n-word is more about the speaker, than the spoken of. A 2010 blogger had this to say.

What resonated with me about this particular video though, is the universal experience we’ve all had being referred to, thought of as, or called something we inherently are not. Not because of something we’ve done, mind you – but because of the way others “interpret” us. Those of us that “transgress” gender norms are often given titles and names that don’t fit who we are – but are more representative of the fears and desires of others. I’ve often felt that people’s projections of me are oftentimes just that – their projections. However, Baldwin’s ending sums up a solution to this perfectly: “But you still think, I gather, that the n****r is necessary. Well he’s unnecessary to me – he must be necessary to you. Well, I’m going to give your problem back to you…you’re the n****r, baby…not me.”

It is now 2020. (All discussions of race must mention the year.) The TV show was fifty seven years ago. A few things have changed. To many white people, overt expressions of racism are seen as bad manners. The n-word is taboo in polite company. The overall attitudes may not have changed, but most white people are careful how they say things.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These men are Union soldiers, from the War Between the States.

A few weeks ago, this blog published a feature, James Baldwin And The Six Letter Word. At the center was selection of James Baldwin talking about the n word. There was a transcript available, which makes today’s exercise a lot easier.

Mr. Baldwin was discussing this nasty word, and offered an insight into who the user of this nasty word was really talking about. Now, there is another nasty word being casually tossed about these days. This other nasty word is racist. What would happen if you took Mr. Baldwin’s talk, and substituted racist for nasty? It is an interesting way to look at things. What follows is not a perfect fit, and may be offensive to some. A few times, it is very close to the truth.

Who is the racist? Well i know this…and anybody who has tried to live knows this. What you say about somebody else (you know) anybody else, reveals you. What I think of you as being is dictated by my own necessities, my own psychology, my own uhm fears…and desires. I’m not describing you when I talk about you…I’m describing me.

Now, here in this country we got somebody called a racist. It doesn’t in such terms, I beg you to remark, exist in any other country in the world. We have invented the racist. I didn’t invent him, white people invented him. I’ve always known, I had to know by the time I was seventeen years old, what you were describing was not me and what you were afraid of was not me. It had to be something else. You had invented it so it had to be something you were afraid of and you invested me with it.

Now if that’s so, no matter what you’ve done to me I can say to you this, and I mean it…I know you can’t do any more and I’ve got nothing to lose…and I know and I have always known you know and really always..…I have always known that I am not a racist…but if I am not the racist…and if it is true that your invention reveals you…then who is the racist?

I am not the victim here. I know one thing from another. I know that I was born, am gonna suffer and gonna die. And the only way that you can get through life is to know the worst things about it. I know that a person is more important than anything else. Anything else.

I’ve learned this because I’ve had to learn it. But you still think, I gather, that the racist is necessary. Well he’s not necessary to me, so he must be necessary to you. So I give you your problem back. You’re the racist baby, it isn’t me.

Two Hundred Yards Behind

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on July 1, 2020

In 1985, PG went to work for Shaky Blueprints. The real name was a Japanese word that nobody knew how to spell. Two of the previous hires were an athletic young lady, and a fat man. Until better nicknames arrive, we will call them AYL and FM for this story.

AYL was trying to get FM to go jogging with her after work. This was an ongoing conversation, with FM always turning her down. One afternoon, PG wore an old pair of jogging shoes to work, and said that he would go running with AYL.

Shaky was just off highway 400, in what is now part of Sandy Springs. There was a road leading away from it. The road went over the highway, and went in a wooded semi circle for a couple of miles. The plan was to go on this loop, and take sidewalks on Roswell Road back to Shaky.

At one time, PG went running every day. He was out of the habit by this time, and always a slow runner. When the work day was over, PG tied his glasses on with a rubber band, did a few stretches, and was ready to take on the course.

AYL and PG left the parking lot, and started up the road. PG trudged along with his head down. When he got to the bridge over the highway, PG looked up. AYL had taken off like greased lightning, and was already two hundred yards ahead. PG hollered for her to slow down, and finished the course.

Pictures for this repost are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Have a happy July.

Our Soft Hearts

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on June 30, 2020

Hero Status Will Be Stamped

Posted in Library of Congress, Weekly Notes by chamblee54 on June 29, 2020

The display of a link on this page does not indicate approval of content.
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black cat cafe ~ Hohenzollern ~ intl. fairy day ~ bubba repents
bubba wallace ~ Dr. W.J. “Dub” Greenway ~ evil n ~ Washington’s Teeth
Rayshard Brooks told police Natalie White was his girlfriend. Now, a woman with same name is wanted for burning a Wendy’s ~ “Mrs. Dora Stainers, 562 1/2 Decatur St. 39 years old. Began spinning in an Atlanta mill at 7 years, and is in this mill work for 32 years. Only 4 days of schooling in her life. Began at 20 cents a day. The most she ever made was $1.75 a day & now she is earning $1 a day when she works.” The photograph was taken in March 1915. ~ Wrongfully Arrested Because Face Recognition Can’t Tell Black People Apart That headline is a bit much. I can accept that problems exist with the technology, and police use of it. However, to go directly to “Can’t Tell Black People Apart” is a stretch. It is also inflammatory, and might increase racial tensions … at a time when race tensions are already bubbling over. How is Face Recognition Surveillance Technology Racist? I don’t think it is inflammatory to say something that is factually accurate and that highlights another example of systemic racism. … Lets put it this way. If you were defending a system in court, and the opposing attorney said “This technology cannot tell black people apart”, would you object? …There is also the matter of how you package the headline. The youtube headline said “Wrongfully Arrested Because of Flawed Face Recognition Technology.” That is fine. Whereas, the ACLU article headline said “Wrongfully Arrested Because Face Recognition Can’t Tell Black People Apart.” Same message, but the latter will inflame emotions much more than the former. There is so much tension right now. We should be careful how we say things. ~ University Avenue cleared of barricades near property where Rayshard Brooks was killed ~ The Civil War, there’s a great compromise, as it’s called. It consists of Southerners admitting freely that it’s probably best that the Union wasn’t divided, and the North admits rather freely that the South fought bravely for a cause in which it believed. ~ 1 Copy wikiquotes page of reputed source into word document 2 CNTL + F, search for a word in quote 3 If you cannot match that word to quote, try another word 4 If the quote is not in WQ, it might be not be legitimate. WQ is not definitive, but a good place to start. ~ @chakrabsumita Some folks who I believe are well-meaning are saying that the Michael Dickman poem in @poetrymagazine Poetry critiques whiteness. I strongly disagree, and I would like to tell you why via my only skill: close reading! In This Essay I Will; Or, God Help Me, It’s Thread O’Clock ~ To Our Readers Regarding “Scholls Ferry Rd.” by Michael Dickman ~ Scholls Ferry Rd. ~ @chamblee54 Is the poem even available online? Yes denounce it all you like, but let me read it for myself. I do not want to buy a print edition to do so. What privilege! ~ @chamblee54 Putting out a thread like this, without a link to the poem, is rude. The link should be in the initial tweet, so we can read it for ourselves ~ @chamblee54 You should copy this thread into an essay, post it in the comment section of the print edition, and delete the twitter thread. If you continue to post your commentary on twitter, you should make “Scholls Ferry Rd.” available online. 1/2 … If you want the greater viability of an online commentary, then it should be accompanied by access to the source material. 2/2 ~ Scholls Ferry Rd. ~ pictures for this constipated collection today are from The Library of Congress. ~ selah


Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on June 28, 2020








The neighborhood along Peachtree Road has always been a great place to be a freak. For a long time it didn’t have a name. It is north of downtown, between Piedmont Park and Georgia Tech. Sometime in the early eighties, people started to call it Midtown, and the name stuck.

In the time after the War Between the States, this area was a shantytown called “Tight Squeeze”. It evolved into a pleasant middle class area. In the sixties, hippies took over. The area was known as the strip, or tight squeeze. Many stories could be told.

After the flower children moved on, the area went into decline. Gays started to move in, with the battle cry “Give us our rights or we will remodel your house.” Developers, worshiping the triune G-d of location, location, location, began to smell money. The neighborhood became trendy, then expensive, then more expensive. The freaks with money remain. This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.








There was a nifty webcam up when this feature was written. It shows the progress of a high rise going up now at 12th and Peachtree in midtown. The location of the camera itself is not certain. The most likely location is 999 Peachtree, on Tenth Street, two blocks south of the project.

A glance at the image reveals a curve in the road, between the two glass boxes under construction. Atlanta does not have wide, straight boulevards extending to the horizon. It is said that Atlanta did not build roads, but paved the cow paths.

People of a certain age will remember this area as the strip. The tenth street district was a neighborhood shopping area, up until the mid sixties. At some point, the old businesses started to move out and the hippies moved in. For a while, it was a festive party. Soon enough reality returned, and the area went into a crime filled decline.

The 999 complex is the neighborhood story in a nutshell. Before 1985, it was a block of small businesses. There was a hardware store, with the peace symbol set in tiles in the sidewalk. On Juniper Street stood the Langdon Court Apartments. They were named for PG’s great uncle Langdon Quin. Ru Paul used to stay there. He would sit out on a balcony, and wave to the traffic going by.

Across the street was a chinese restaurant, the House of Eng. A staircase on the side led to the Suzy Wong Lounge. Behind the building was an apartment building. It was one of the residences of Margaret Mitchell, while she wrote “Gone With The Wind”. She called it “the dump”, which was fairly accurate. The museum on that site would have amazed her.

PG went to the House of Eng for lunch one day in 1985. He noticed that he was the only customer in the house, at 12:30 pm on a weekday. After finishing his lunch, PG knew why.

At some point, it was decided to build a high rise there. Heery was one of the equity partners, along with a law firm and an ad agency. The building was designed by Heery (duh).The ad agency folded before the building opened, followed within a couple of years by the law firm. Heery was sold to a British company. PG does not know who owns 999 Peachtree now.

This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The building, at 12th and Peachtree, is finished.


Steve Martin

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on June 27, 2020










There is a form letter floating through the intercourse now. It is a letter that Steve Martin used to send to his fans. (The letter was recently immortalized at Letters of Note.)

He …that is Stephen Glenn “Steve” Martin (born August 14, 1945) … has moved up in correspondence with his adoring fans. Mr. Martin now gives out business cards, with the message “This card certifies that the holder had met Steve Martin and found him genuinely friendly”. What a wild and crazy guy!

This is becoming one of those really really modern days here. Listening to a djmix with a Lady Gaga song, drinking coffee out of a Mcdonalds plastic cup, and writing a tribute to Steve Martin. What a day! Oh, before we forget, there is the story about the drive in theater on I85 that was showing “Father of the Bride”. One day, the h fell off the marquee, and the title of the movie became “Fater of the Bride”. Good times.

The story of Steve Martin and PG began one night at the Great Southeast Music Hall. PG got tired of hearing how great the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was, and decided to see a show. The show started when some guy in a white suit came out with a banjo. John McEuen stood next to him, and kept falling into the microphone stand and saying “this guy cracks me up”.

Steve Martin, the white suit guy, said that he paid somebody five thousand dollars for a joke. He then took this arrow, with a coat hanger wire attached to it, with a shape for his head to fit in, and put it on. That got a laugh, but not worth five thousand dollars. There was another gag…”do you mind if i smoke, no do you mind if i fart”. That got a slightly bigger laugh.

In those days, you could not sell alcohol in public on sunday night in Georgia. To compensate, the Music Hall sold children’s tickets for the sunday night shows. Mr. Martin was not used to having children in the audience. “Hey kid I gotta joke for you. There were these two lesbians…”

The show went over well with the Nitty Gritty crowd. However, it is doubtful that anyone thought, this is the beloved entertainer of our generation.

Mr. Martin was not through for the night. At one point, the NGDB moved to the back of the stage, and a smarmy lounge lizard, in a white suit, came on stage. While the band played “The girl from Ipanema”, Mr. Martin sang about the girl with diarrhea.

This was one of the last shows that Steve Martin did as an opening act. (He did return to the Great Southeast Music Hall. Once, he did a week with Martin Mull, called the Steve Martin Mull Revue.) Within two years, he was a guest host on Saturday Night Live, and a certified wild and crazy guy. A couple of years later, he was famous again as “The Jerk”. Steve Martin had arrived.

This is a repost. The pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. The animated dentures are from chattering teeth. The check is in the mail.









Is Facial Recognition Technology Racist?

Posted in Library of Congress, Politics, Race, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 26, 2020

Wrongfully Arrested Because Face Recognition Can’t Tell Black People Apart This headline. posted on facebook, led to a discussion of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT). The headline pushed all kinds of buttons for PG. People are aroused, to the breaking point, about racism. The person who posted the story disagrees. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

The reply posted by person #1 featured some other links. One was for a video, Wrongfully Arrested Because of Flawed Face Recognition Technology. To PG, this is more reasonable, and less inflammatory, than “… Can’t Tell Black People Apart.” It is also easier to believe. PG can accept that FRT has more problems with POC, than with PWOC. To make a blanket claim like “… Can’t Tell Black People Apart” seems like an dangerous exaggeration.

The conversation sat still for the rest of the day. Person #1 is an attorney, who used to live in Atlanta. This is where PG met him. Person #1 is an intelligent, thoughtful person, someone you should listen to. PG might disagree with person #1 on this issue, while still having respect for him.

Then person #2 entered the conversation. PG has never met person #2. All he knows is what he sees on her facebook page. It shows pictures of a vacation in Havana. Person #2 is clearly white. The fact that she took a vacation in Havana indicates that person #2 enjoys a certain amount of privilege. Here is what person #2 added to the conversation:

“”…flawed face recognition technology” sounds like there was a glitch, not like the entire technology was designed in a way that supports white, male normativity (aka white supremacy). Your suggestion that this is the same message is false and suggests we should avoid being more upset by avoiding the actual issue here—because we should frame matters in ways that obfuscate the real problem. We can’t begin to solve these problems if we are afraid to actually say what they are. Yeah, people are going to be upset. THEY SHOULD BE.” … “If you are following the protests and the recent changes that have happened, you know exactly what the anger has led to. If Black anger makes you uncomfortable, address your white fragility. Try to let go of your tone policing and actually engage with the issues. That’s work you have to do on your own.”

University Avenue cleared of barricades near property where Rayshard Brooks was killed. This was the story PG posted in response to “you know exactly what the anger has led to.” In the aftermath of the Rayshard Brooks killing, an armed gang took over the burned out Wendy’s on University Avenue, where the incident occurred. “Residents of the south Atlanta neighborhood in the area had grown frustrated by the blockade that formed – guarded by what they described as armed citizens who they said were not protesting but using the space for their own gain. Residents said that the people would block the street and sometimes not allow them to get in or out of their neighborhood.”

This is one of many examples of where the anger caused by current events has spilled over to harm people. Often, the “collateral damage” did nothing to deserve the abuse they are getting. In many cases, it is POC who are suffering the brunt of the damage. When a privileged white person, like #2, rabble rouses people into action, this is what can happen. University Avenue is the first exit on i75/i85 south of downtown, and is an important access point for many neighborhoods. Many of the people affected by the turmoil on University Avenue are white.

After hearing talk about “white fragility” and “tone policing,” PG is inclined to dismiss person #2 as a cliche spouting idiot. Unfortunately, that seems to be the approach many people have to complex issues. The idea that FRT is designed to reinforce white supremacy would be very amusing to the Chinese government. They are major players in FRT, using it to enable Asian hegenomy.

Lets examine the notion that FRT is racist by design. If this were the case, the developers would go the extra mile to make fewer mistakes with POC. If the goal of FRT is to keep the lawless POC masses under control, then it would help if the system actually worked on POC.

One of the articles cited by person #1 mentioned announcements by some major tech industry players that they were not going to sell FRT services to police. The article linked above mentions concerns about race/gender bias. However, the greater focus here is the overall privacy concerns about FRT.

Is it really a good idea to focus on the racial problems with FRT? There have long been overall privacy concerns about Big Brother. Unfortunately, many people will see an headline about racism and either tune it out, or think that it does not affect them. (“If you are tired of talking about racism, how would you like to live with it”) The human rights concerns about FRT affect everyone. To dismiss these concerns as “white fragility” is counterproductive, insulting, and insane.

This feature is approaching the attention limit of many readers. The facebook thread, and the identity of persons #1 and #2, were hidden out of respect for the privacy of the people involved. Even a cliche-spouting SJW deserves privacy.

The Night Muhammad Ali Fought In Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on June 25, 2020

Many have noted that Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch in 1996. Few seem to remember another Atlanta appearance from the former Cassius Clay. It happened October 26, 1970, at the Municipal Auditorium. To get to this point, lets borrow a few lines from a Courier-Journal Ali Timeline.

1960 – “Clay defeats Zbigniew Pietrzykowski of Poland on Sept. 5 to win the light-heavyweight boxing gold medal at the Olympics in Rome…”

1962 – “Clay hears Elijah Muhammad speak for the first time. He meets another Nation of Islam leader, Malcolm X, who becomes a friend and adviser. – On March 9, the military draft board classifies Clay 1-A, meaning he is fit and available to be called into the Army…”

1964 -” Because of a low score on the Army intelligence test, Clay is reclassified 1-Y, not qualified for military service, in January. “I said I was The Greatest,” he explains. “I never said I was the smartest.” – Clay scores a stunning seventh-round technical knockout over 7-1 favorite Sonny Liston on Feb. 25 at the Miami Convention Center, winning the world heavyweight championship at age 22. – In response to a reporter’s question the day after the fight, Clay confirms he is a member of the Nation of Islam, saying: “I believe in Allah and in peace. … I’m not a Christian anymore. … Followers of Allah are the sweetest people in the world. They don’t tote weapons. They pray five times a day.” – A rift grows between Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. Ali sides with Elijah, causing grief for Malcolm. – Casting off his “slave name,” Clay adopts the temporary name Cassius X. Later he announces that Elijah has bestowed on him the name Muhammad Ali. The name means “Praiseworthy One.”…”

1965 – “Ali knocks out Liston in the first round of their rematch, before only 4,280 fans in Lewiston, Maine, on May 25. Liston falls under a “phantom” punch that apparently few people see, giving rise to suspicions that he threw the fight. Former champion Joe Louis eventually declares Ali “unfit” to hold the title. – In October, former champion Floyd Patterson says: “Cassius Clay is disgracing himself and the Negro race.” On Nov. 22, Ali delivers a punishing defeat to Patterson, in part, he says, because Patterson refuses to call him Ali….”

1966 – “With the Vietnam War heating up, the Army lowers test-score standards, reclassifying Ali 1-A — fit for service. – “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong,” he says to reporters who call him at home in Miami. He later explains that “no Viet Cong ever called me nigger.” – Ali asks to be reclassified a conscientious objector to military service. A hearing officer sides with him, but the draft board keeps him 1-A, armed with a U.S. Justice Department opinion that Ali’s objections to military service are political not religious….”

1967 – “On April 28, Ali refuses induction into the Army in Houston.” “It is the light of my consciousness as a Muslim minister and my own personal convictions that I take my stand in rejecting the call to be inducted in the armed services,” Ali stated after refusing induction on April 28, 1967. “I have searched my conscience and I find I cannot be true to my belief in my religion by accepting such a call.” He was convicted of draft evasion on June 20, 1967. Ali was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000, the maximum penalty for the offense. He remained free on a $5,000 bond while he appealed his conviction. Ali was also stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship by the New York State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Association, systematically denied a boxing license in every state and stripped of his passport. “

For three and a half years, Mr. Ali was unable to fight in the ring. The WBA had a tournament, and installed their own champion. People tried to set up a fight for Mr. Ali, but were blocked by politicians, and state boxing authorities. California Governor Ronald Reagan said “That draft dodger will never fight in my state, period.” Then someone had the idea to have the fight in Atlanta.

Atlanta has never been a boxing town. There was no boxing commission. The Municipal Auditorium, the only venue that could host, was a dump. As Ring magazine tells the story: “So it was the height of irony that it was Atlanta, a city that occupied the heart of the Deep South, that provided the breakthrough. State Senator Leroy Johnson and Governor Lester Maddox helped pave the way for a most improbable return by persuading the City of Atlanta Athletic Commission to grant Ali a boxing license on Aug. 12, 1970. Shortly thereafter, it was announced Ali would fight Jerry Quarry on Oct. 26 at the City Auditorium in Atlanta. The bout was scheduled for 15 rounds, probably in recognition of Ali’s status as lineal heavyweight champion.” (Other sources say that Governor Maddox was opposed to hosting the fight, but was powerless to stop it.)

The opponent was Jerry Quarry, whose white skin was apparent that night. His obituary notes: :His most famous night was in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 1970, when he was the “fall-guy” for Ali’s comeback from his three- year exile. Quarry was stopped because of a badly cut eye in the third round. It brought him his biggest payday, $338,000. … By 1995 he was in the care of his brother James, and was suffering from severe pugilistic dementia.” Jerry Quarry died January 3, 1999.

The fight was not much of a contest. It lasted three rounds, before the referee stopped the match. Mr. Ali fought for ten more years, and regained the Heavyweight Championship twice. “On June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court unanimously overturns Ali’s 4-year-old draft conviction, saying that his claims as a conscientious objector were based on religion and were sincere.”

The fight was the occasion for a display of black pride, and black money. The New Yorker essayist George Plimpton remembered that invasion of the Harlem peacocks in their enormous purple Cadillacs: “I’d never seen crowds as fancy, especially the men – felt hatbands and feathered capes, and the stilted shoes, the heels like polished ebony, and many smoking stuff in odd meerschaum pipes.”

“The times reported that the bout was like “a page out of the roaring twenties. … The ladies had beads down to the hem of their maxi-skirts. One man wore an ankle length mink coat, with a high hat of mink to match. … Diana Ross sat in the forth row, ringside, with a bouffant, Afro-American hair-do that stretched out 10 inches on each side.” Many of those in attendance were invited to a party.

“Engraved invitations to one party in particular had been passed around to the hustlers in New York a week earlier and in Atlanta in the days leading up to the fight. The invitations announced that “Fireball” was throwing a party at 2819 Handy Drive, in Collier Heights.

The Handy Drive house happened to be one of several properties that “Chicken Man” Williams owned. He’d given a friend, an Atlantan-turned-New-Yorker known as “Fireball,” permission to use the house. He’d even helped build a craps table the week before so all the big-time gamblers who were sure to show up could “roll the bones.”

Williams’ girlfriend, Barbara Smith, skipped the fight to help prepare for the party. She and two girlfriends were busy in the kitchen when they heard the front door open. The fight was still going on, so Smith went to the front, expecting to meet an early bird. She was greeted by three men in ski masks standing in the hallway. All were armed; one was pointing a shotgun at her face. …

An estimated 80 to 200 people had arrived at the house expecting to party, only to be fleeced by masked men with shotguns. According to news accounts, the victims were led to the basement, then ordered to strip to their underwear, throw all their valuables in a pile and lay on the floor…

As more victims arrived, floor space in the basement became scarce, so the gunmen ordered the victims to lie on top of each other. Cash and jewelry was swept into pillowcases. That went on for hours as more and more people kept showing up. By 3 a.m., the half-naked victims were stacked like cordwood on top of each other.

Not one shot was fired. But as they left, the gunmen took Smith and one of her friends hostage and told everyone else to stay put. Three hours later, they dropped the women off on the other side of town and gave them $10 each for cab fare. By that time, the investigation was underway.

Creative Loafing has a terrific story about the party at Chicken Man’s house. If you have a few minutes, it is worth your time. Ditto for this newspaper story, in the sucky google books format.

A key person in the story is J.D. Hudson. One of the first eight black Atlanta policemen, Lt. Hudson was Mr. Ali’s bodyguard the night of the fight. Lt. Hudson wound up conducting the investigation of the party at Chicken Man’s house. Lt. Hudson met Gordon “Chicken Man” Williams, under rather unpleasant circumstances, in 1949.

Lt. Hudson never suspected Chicken Man of being part of the robbery. “From the time he took over the case, Hudson says, he knew Williams wasn’t responsible — even though other investigators already had pinned the crime on him. For one thing, Hudson could place Williams at the fight at the time the gunmen were at the house setting up the crime.

For another, Hudson says, “I knew [Williams] wasn’t dumb enough to pull a stunt like that. This was a man who ran [a] million-dollar operation from a pay phone on a street corner. He was smart. He could’ve run IBM or Coke. There’s no way he would’ve risked all that to pay somebody off. This was pulled off by a bunch of young thugs who were trying to knock over a party, and when they got there and saw how big it was, they improvised.”

Chicken Man went to prison in the seventies, and became a minister. He served as the Pastor of the Salem Baptist Church. Gordon Williams died December 6, 2014. J.D.Hudson died June 4, 2009. The men who robbed the party goers were killed a few months after the fight.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

Waddle Away

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on June 24, 2020