Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on April 30, 2020

Doug Richards is an Atlanta tv news reporter. He writes a blog, live apartment fire. He was on the scene twenty seven years ago. There was a riot downtown. Mr. Richards had a bad night.

PG was working in the Healey building that day. He ran an RMS, or reprographic management service, in an architects office. He had a blueline machine, ran jobs for the customer, and had free time. PG did a lot of exploring, and enjoyed the various events downtown. On April 30, 1992, there was an event he did not enjoy.

The day before, a jury in California issued a verdict. Four policemen were acquitted of wrongdoing in an incident involving Rodney King. The incident had been videotaped, and received widespread attention. The verdict of the jury was not popular. The dissatisfaction spread to Atlanta.

Sometimes, PG thinks he has a guardian angel looking over him. If so, then this thursday afternoon was one of those times. PG went walking out into the gathering storm. He was a block south of the train station at five points, when he saw someone throw a rock into a store front. The sheet metal drapes were rolled down on the outside of the store. PG realized that he was not in a good place, and quickly made his way back to the Healey building.

A group of policeman were lined up in the lobby of the building, wearing flack jackets. One of the police was a white man, who was familiar to workers in the neighborhood. A few weeks before the incident, he had been walking around the neighborhood showing off his newborn baby.

There was very little work done that afternoon in the architect’s office. Someone said not to stand close to the windows, which seemed like a good idea. Fourteen floors below, on Broad Street, the window at Rosa’s Pizza had a brick thrown threw it. There were helicopters hovering over downtown, making an ominous noise.

There was a lot of soul searching about race relations that day. The Olympics were coming to town in four years, and the potential for international disaster was apparent. As it turned out, the disturbance was limited to a few hundred people. It could have been much, much worse. If one percent of the anger in Atlanta had been unleashed that day, instead of .001 percent, the Olympics would have been looking for a new host.

After a while, the people in the office were called into the lobby. The Principal of the firm, the partner in charge of production, walked out to his vehicle with PG. The principal drove an inconspicuous vehicle, which made PG feel a bit better. PG took his pocketknife, opened the blade, and put it in his back pocket. It probably would not have done him much good.

PG usually took the train downtown. As fate would have it, there was a big project at the main office of redo blue on West Peachtree Street. That is where PG’s vehicle was, in anticipation of working overtime that night. The principal drove PG to this building. PG called his mother, to let her know that he was ok. The Atlanta manager of Redo Blue talked to him, to make sure that he was not hurt.

If PG had not gone back downtown the next day, he might not have ever gone back. He was back at the West Peachtree Street office, and was assured that it was safe to ride the train into town. The Macy’s at 180 Peachtree had plywood nailed over the display windows. A gift shop in the Healey building had a sign in the window, “Black owned business”. Friday May 1, 1992, was a quiet day.

This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Another story from that day is posted below.

Stacey Abrams appeared on Democracy Now. “So, I was a student at Spelman. I was a freshman. It was 1992, April. And Spelman College, the Atlanta University Center (AUC,) which is a consortium of black colleges, used to sit right outside some of the oldest housing developments in Georgia. And so, after the Rodney King verdict was announced, there were riots in Los Angeles, but there were also small riots in Georgia, including in that area. The reaction from the mayor was to actually cordon off that entire community, both the universities and the housing developments and then surrounding neighborhoods. And then they tear-gassed us. I was very irate, and I organized a group of students at my college to call the television stations, who were misreporting what was happening. At a certain point, they asked who was calling, because we were tying up their phone lines. And I just told my friends, “Tell them you’re me.”

So, Stacey Abrams was calling multiple lines in multiple television stations. Eventually, the television stations decided to do a simulcast, bringing everyone together—and I was invited as the person who was one of the rabble-rousers—to come and talk to the leadership of Atlanta about what had happened and about why we were angry, about why young people were outraged. We weren’t rioting at the school, but we understood those who were angry and who felt oppressed and felt ignored. I communicated that, and at this event, Maynard Jackson was there. He disagreed with me, disagreed with my characterization of the city’s overreaction. And I told him he wasn’t doing enough for young people. He won the argument, because he was better prepared.”

PG was in the Healy Building on April 30, 1992. He was just happy to get home in one piece that day, and did not watch any news reports. He vaguely recalls hearing something about an incident at AUC. After PG heard this statement by Miss Abrams, hew went to Mr. Google for information. There are at least two versions of that incident, which more or less tell the story. One is the Atlanta Voice, LOOKING BACK: ‘No Justice, No Peace’: The battle of Fair Street Bottom, 20 plus years later. Another is a lawsuit filed by the owners of a neighborhood grocery store, Park v. City of Atlanta.

After the Rodney King verdict, in California, students at AUC led a march from the school to downtown. At some point, the march degenerated into a riot. A grocery store on Fair Street was looted. Police were called in, and tear gas was used.

The Atlanta Voice “The Korean-owned grocery store located in Atlanta’s Fair Street Bottom closed early in anticipation of trouble. And like storm clouds on the horizon trouble showed up as expected. The garage-style steel door, typical of many small businesses in economically depressed communities around the nation, however, was not enough to stop the looters from breaking the lock and prying the door up just enough to crawl under and loot the establishment. The wife of the owner pleaded with Atlanta Police who were clad in riot gear as they stood quietly by and watched. No officer responded to her crying plead to stop the looters. The officers had more important orders: Don’t let the looters go into downtown; keep them in the Bottom. The police finally dispersed the looters with tear gas after they tried to set fire to the building. The liquor store next to the 5 Star Grocery was protected from the looters. This contained riot wasn’t going to be fuel by alcohol. …

Twenty-six years ago, Fair Street Bottom was located in the heart of one of Atlanta’s notorious neighborhoods just east of the Atlanta University Center. It was called the Bottom because Fair Street running east to west from Northside Drive dips downwards before it levels off again as it passes Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College. The Bottom was in the heart of one of the city’s oldest public housing communities – John Hope Homes. With walking distance to the west near Spelman College was another housing project – University Homes. Fenced in green lots now occupy the space with John Hope Homes once sat. They were torn down in the 1990s as part of the Atlanta Housing Authority’s massive plan to re-invent public housing. University Homes was torn down and re-built into a mixed-income housing complex. Most of Atlanta missed the “Battle of Fair Street Bottom” unless they read or watch the news. The distance never spread beyond those few blocks …

I don’t remember where the phone call came from, but we were informed that some of the marchers were causing damage as they were marching back to the campus. Unfortunate for the marchers some of the young men and high school students joined the march as they passed through John Hope Homes. … By the time, I got to the Atlanta University Center, the student organizers had lost control of the march. Those marches who had a taste of destruction downtown were hell-bent on continuing. The Korean-owned 5 Star Supermarket became the focus of the headless mob, as did a few park police cars that were either turned over or set on fire. After a few hours, and quite a bit of tear gas, the Atlanta Police quelled the disturbance before nightfall. Students retreated back to their dorms and the young looters retreated back to their neighborhoods.”

The legal opinion “This action stems from one of the despicable acts of mob violence which occurred in the tumult of the riots in Atlanta, Georgia, in the wake of the Rodney King verdict… On April 29, 1992, … students from the Atlanta University Center began an impromptu march to the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and then to the State Capitol Building. The first day’s demonstrations ended at the State Capitol after 2 a.m. The students, presumably tired but clearly still agitated, returned to the Atlanta University Center.

The businesses of the Plaintiffs were to become a focus of the disorder on the second day of the riots. Sang S. Park and Hi Soon Park owned and operated Five Star Supermarket, a grocery business located at 653 Fair Street, S.W., Atlanta, Georgia. Plaintiffs Kwang Jun No and Jin Soon No owned and operated Star Liquor Store, a package store located next door at 661 Fair Street, S.W. Both Korean-American-owned businesses were located in a small commercial area in the immediate vicinity of four historically black universities: Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and Morris Brown College (“the Atlanta University Center”). Plaintiffs’ stores were the only non-black-owned businesses within that area.

In the afternoon of April 30, 1992, a group of students swarmed off the campuses of the Atlanta University Center. A segment of the crowd headed to the downtown business district, where they looted and attacked white pedestrians. A gang of students stopped to shout racial epithets and break the windows of both the Five Star Supermarket and the Five Star Liquor Store. Glenn Park, who is the son of Plaintiffs, was working at the store; he relayed these events to a police officer.

On the following day around 1:30 or 2:00 p.m., students at the Atlanta University Center began to throw projectiles from windows of a dormitory at the corner of Brawley Avenue and Fair Street, which is located about three blocks from Plaintiffs’ stores. A police S.W.A.T. team used tear gas to disperse these students. … The Plaintiffs decided to close their stores and congregate in an upstairs apartment within the Five Star Supermarket as nearby police officers observed. … By 6:45 p.m., … members of the crowd began throwing rocks and breaking into Five Star Liquor Store. From his position in the police helicopter, Officer S.F. Patterson advised other officers over TAC I radio that approximately fifty to seventy-five students were vandalizing a small business at Elm and Fair.

… the dispatcher reported a call originating from around the Fair and Roach intersection indicating that about fifty college students were assaulting a subject there at 6:45 p.m. During the next ten to twenty minutes, the mob gained entry to the liquor store, removed cases of alcoholic beverages, and broke into the supermarket. Around 7:15 p.m., a dispatcher actually called the Plaintiffs at the request of Major Mock and Chief Bell in order to advise them to remain out of sight of the crowd below. Within minutes of the last phone conversation with 911, the mob discovered Plaintiffs and chased them onto the roof of the grocery store … Plaintiffs barricaded the door onto the roof, but were assaulted by the crowd on the street who threw bricks, rocks, stones, and items stolen from their own store, hitting Mrs. Park, and shouted racial epithets at the Plaintiffs. …

On May 4, 1992, Mayor Jackson and Chief Bell participated in another press conference in which they addressed the previous days’ events and apologized to the Korean community, but also emphasized how none of the Atlanta University students were injured. Mayor Jackson also recognized the black community’s long-standing resentment of the Korean business community and recommended that a symbolic gesture be taken such as a collection for the destroyed businesses.”

Former Atlanta Police Chief Eldrin Bell has another perspective. “Bell was out of town the first night riots erupted in Atlanta on April 30, 1992. He said more than 20 police officers were injured that day when he got a call from the Mayor. “First thing I heard was Mayor Maynard Jackson’s voice in my ear saying ‘they’re tearing up your town,'” … he called the FBI who flew him back to Atlanta. He arrived the next day on May 1, 1992 at around lunch time at took charge of handling the riots. He did not want to repeat what happened the day before when officers confronted protestors face to face. “I am not a proponent of those confrontations, police versus the community.” Bell said he ordered officers out of the riot zone while he went up in a helicopter along with the Georgia State Patrol and flew over the protestors and dropped tear gas to disperse the crowd. “And I pointed out the places that I wanted him to tear gas, There was no one for them to throw the tear gas back to because the police weren’t there.” By 10PM that night the crowd dispersed, the riots ended, and the city began cleaning up.”

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

Dr. King And Mr. King

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Race by chamblee54 on April 29, 2020






PG stumbled onto a blog post about a speech. It was delivered August 28, 1963, by Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. You have probably heard the money quote many times, but how many have heard the entire 881 words. PG had not, and decided to take a look.

The speech is really a sermon. It is delivered with the cadence, and rhetorical flourishes, of the church. Dr. King was a minister. The Jesus worship church is a huge player in African America. The fact that slaves were introduced to this religion, by their owners, seems to be forgotten.

The term used is Negro. This was the polite word in 1963. The custom of saying Black started in the late sixties, at least partially inspired by James Brown. Negro began to be seen as an insult.

As the speech is working up to the climax, there is a line “But not only there; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia!” Today, Stone Mountain is a middle class black community. DeKalb County is mostly black, and the political leadership is African American. This was a long way from happening in 1963.

Twelve weeks after Dr. King gave his speech, President John Kennedy was killed. Part of the reaction to this tragedy was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The next year saw the Voting Rights Act, and escalation of the war in Vietnam. It seemed that for every step forward, there was a half step back. People lost patience with non violence. America did not implode, but somehow survived. It is now fifty seven years later.






The other day PG stumbled onto a blog post, about a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This address was deemed “the singularly most-important speech on race in the history of this country.”

PG admires Dr. King. He is also suspicious of superlatives. There were some comments made by Rodney Glen King III. The comments by Mr King were briefer, and tougher to live up to.

While thinking of things to write about, PG realized that he had never seen the actual quote by Mr. King. It is embedded above. When you see this video, you might realize that Mr. King has been misquoted. The popular version has him saying “Can’t we all just get along.” He did not say just.

Mr. King was known to America as Rodney King. His friends called him Glen. His comments, at 7:01, May 1, 1992, went like this:
““People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids? . . . Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it.”
The circumstances of the two comments could not be more different. Dr. King was giving the sermon of his life. There was an enormous crowd, both in person and on TV. His comments were scripted, rehearsed, and delivered with the style he was famous for.

Mr. King, by contrast, had just seen the officers who beat him acquitted. Cities from coast to coast were in violent upheaval. Mr. King was speaking to reporters, without benefit of a speech writer. What he said might be more important. This double repost has pictures from The Library of Congress.






Of Old Men

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on April 28, 2020

Paper Cut Of Oppression

Posted in Library of Congress, Weekly Notes by chamblee54 on April 27, 2020

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Confederate Memorial Day

Posted in Georgia History, History, Holidays, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on April 27, 2020









Today is Confederate Memorial Day in Georgia. It is an ancient question…how to honor the soldiers from the side that lost. They were just as valiant as the Union Soldiers. Considering the shortages of the Confederate Armies, the Rebels may have been just a bit braver.

The issue of Federalism is a defining conflict of the American experience. What powers do we give the Federal Government, and what powers do we cede to the States? The Confederacy was the product of this conflict. The Confederate States were a collection of individual states, with separate armies. This is one reason why the war turned out the way it did.

This is not a defense for slavery. The “Peculiar institution” was a moral horror. The after effects of slavery affect us today. Any remembrance of the Confederacy should know that. This does not make the men who fought any less brave.

It is tough to see the War Between the States through the modern eye. It was a different time, before many of the modern conveniences that are now considered necessities. Many say that the United States were divided from the start, and the fact the union lasted as long as it did was remarkable. When a conflict becomes us against them, the “causes” become unimportant.

The War was a horror, with no pain medicine. Little could be done for the wounded. It took the south many, many years to recover. This healing continues today. Remembering the sacrifices made by our ancestors helps. This is a repost. Pictures are from the The Library of Congress.








Winding His Watch

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on April 26, 2020

Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

Posted in History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on April 25, 2020

April 24th is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. According to wikipedia , “The starting date of the genocide is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day when Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople”
A site called The Straight Dope has an overview of the affair, Was there genocide in early 20th century Armenia? Here are a few excerpts:

It tells you something about human nature and the century just past that the typical response to this question is: What Armenian genocide? Hardly anyone remembers this appalling crime, even though at a million-plus deaths it was the first modern holocaust, ranking eighth on the list of high-body-count butcherings 1900-’87 compiled by genocide historian R. J. Rummel.
Few can even tell you where Armenia is. (The traditional Armenian homeland covers the modern republic of Armenia plus some of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, but the killings were confined to Turkey and other parts of the old Ottoman empire.) It’s not like the murders were conducted in secret or were over before anybody noticed — on the contrary, they spanned 30 years and received sustained worldwide publicity. So why the amnesia? Turkey’s adamant refusal to acknowledge the massacres is part of it, but equally important is the West’s agreement to forget…
What had the Armenians done to deserve all this? Not much — their main offense was to be a Christian minority in a crumbling Islamic empire. Like another much-persecuted Middle Eastern ethnic group whose sufferings are better known, the Armenians had an ancient language and culture plus a reputation for clannishness and a knack for finance, and they became the target of a similar type of unreasoning bigotry…
A massacre of 15,000 to 25,000 Armenians in 1909 set the table for the main event during World War I. Blaming the supposedly disloyal Christian minority for an early defeat by the Russians, the Turkish government starting in 1915 rounded up Armenians throughout the country, murdered vast numbers outright and deported the rest, with many dying on forced marches or in refugee camps. The brutal work was carried out by an elaborate bureaucracy that some historians consider a model for the extermination program of the Nazis. Add in a couple of additional massacres in the early 1920s and the Armenian death toll for 1915-1922 totals a million to a million and a half.

Another site, devoted to history, has a page, The Armenians.

The Turkish government viewed all Armenians with suspicion and instituted programs of relocation and mass murder. Beginning in June 1915, non-Muslim peoples were forced to move away from areas deemed to have military sensitivity. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were forced to march to new homes, some to the Syrian desert, others to Mesopotamia. Little preparation had been made for this exodus and the toll from exhaustion, disease and starvation was staggering. Bands of Turks and Kurds would descend upon Armenian villages and slaughter entire populations.
The treatment of the Armenians was not unknown in the outside world. The Allied governments and even Germany issued protests, but the Turkish government was intent on cleansing their lands of all Armenian influence. Persecution continued into the early 1920s. For years afterward, parents in the West would evoke images of starving Armenians as a means to encourage their children to clean their plates.
It is impossible to assign accurate numbers to the slaughter. Reports provided by Armenian groups are usually regarded by historians as too high, but the official Turkish numbers appear too low. Mid-range figures indicate that perhaps between 600,000 and one million Armenians died during this period, out of a pre-war population estimated at 1.5 million.

The treatment of the Armenians 105 years ago remains a sensitive issue. Turkey staunchly denies that it happened. Since Asia Minor is a strategic piece of property, many governments are willing to go along with this denial. Even Israel , which knows a thing or two about ethnic cleansing, is sensitive to the need for allies. Turkey remains a troubling country today.
Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

Bar Stampede

Posted in Poem by chamblee54 on April 24, 2020

Did You Hear The One About?

Posted in Commodity Wisdom, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 23, 2020









A man is staying in a hotel.
He walks up to the front desk and says,
“Sorry, I forgot what room I’m in, can you help me?”
The receptionist replies, “No problem, sir. This is the lobby.”

You know, I was looking at our ceiling the other day. It’s not the best … But it’s up there.
My nickname at work is Mr. Compromise. It wasn’t my first choice but I’m ok with it.
Where does a dog go when it loses it’s tail, and needs a new one? A retail store.

I don’t trust stairs. They’re always up to something.
How do you get a country girl’s attention? A tractor.
I was attacked by 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. The odds were against me.

When I caught my neighbor attaching a rocket engine to a deer,
I immediately reported him to the authorities.
Shame on him for trying to make a quick buck.

What did the green grape say to the purple grape. Breathe idiot, breathe.
We all know Albert Einstein was a genius … but his brother Frank was a monster.
“Officer, are you crying while writing me a ticket?” Policeman: “It’s a … moving violation.”

What do you call a helpful lemon? Lemonaid.
People say I’m a plagiarist … Their words, not mine.
I’ve just written a book about falling down a staircase. It’s a step by step guide.

I was on the phone with my wife. “I’m almost home, honey, please put the coffee maker on.”
After a twenty second pause, I asked, “You still there sweetheart?”
“Yes. But I don’t think the coffee maker wants to talk right now.”

I have a perfect memory. I can’t remember a single time I’ve ever forgotten anything.
Did you hear the one about the giant throwing up? It’s all over town.
Why shouldn’t blind people sky dive? It scares the dog.

I recently switched all the labels on my wife’s spice rack.
She hasn’t realised yet, but the thyme is cumin.
My friend keeps saying “cheer up man, it could be worse,
you could be stuck underground in a hole full of water.” I know he means well.

Apparently every country got coronavirus. But China got it right off the bat.
My son asked me what the opposite of “isolate” is. I told him “yousoearly”.
Due to the quarantine, I’ll only be telling inside jokes.

Instead of a swear jar, I have a negativity jar. Every time I have pessimistic thoughts,
I put a penny in. It’s currently half empty.
What did the cannibal’s wife say when he came home late for dinner?
I’m giving you the cold shoulder.

We’re going to need 144 rolls of toilet paper for the 14 day quarantine. 144? That’s gross.
How long do you microwave fish? Tuna half minutes!
CDC: “No handshakes” Cannibal: *shuts off blender* “Awwwwwww….”

If you get an email from the government warning not to eat canned meat,
because is contains Covid-19, just ignore it. It’s spam.
A cable TV installer walks into a bar and orders a beer.
The bartender says, “You’ll be served sometime between 7am and 2pm.”

Does anybody remember the joke I posted about my spine? It was about a weak back.
I asked my wife how to turn Alexa off. “How about walking through the room naked?”
Did you hear about the guy who’s left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

These true stories were borrowed from @Dadsaysjokes and @sodadjokes. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.




Waiting To Go Inside Lowe’s

Posted in Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 22, 2020

Planting a garden, during the great American lockdown, is different. There is plenty of time to turn up the soil, and walk to Lowe’s. The problem is when you get to the store. The seedling selection is skimpy. What seedlings there are cost more. To get a package of seeds, you have to wait in line to go inside. Lowe’s thinks people will be safer if only a few people are inside the store.

I brought my ear plugs. This way, I can listen to a show while waiting in line. This was the first time, since the gym closed, that I used the wireless plugs. When I rode the stationary bike, listening to shows was essential. Today, it was a nostalgic luxury. I had to struggle a bit with the bluetooth, but it started working soon enough.

The Anthropocene Reviewed is the show for today. “The Anthropocene is the current geological age, in which human activity has profoundly shaped the planet and its biodiversity. On The Anthropocene Reviewed, John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale.” TAR is typically about 20 minutes long, which is a good length for indoor biking, and Lowe’s admission. Today’s episode is Staphylococcus Aureus and the Non-Denial Denial.

TAR is usually fun to listen to, with enough intellect to make the listener feel smart. SAATN-DD (is that a bra for the large busted satanist?) goes over the discovery of staph bugs, and the antibiotics we use to kill them. While listening to this, I was standing about twenty feet away from the “killing wall” at Lowe’s. This is where they keep the traps, and poisons, used in mortal combat with varmints. The “killing wall” is adjacent to the garden supplies. There may, or may not, be a reason for this.

How does this rate on a five star scale? It was pleasant enough, if you don’t mind the inconvenience of waiting to buy green bean seeds. Mr. Green sounds as serene as ever, even while talking about Non-Denial Denial. This is the part I heard as I was walking home. There is a gravel road, between the MARTA gold line and the Norfolk Southern tracks. I like walking on this road, and am usually the only person there.

The show started to mention examples of Non-Denial Denial, and Bill Clinton came up. Slick Willie is the master of seeming to say something, while saying nothing at all. I somehow knew what the quote would be, before hearing it. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

I give listening The Anthropocene Reviewed, while waiting to get into Lowe’s, three and a half stars. Tomorrow is the fourth Thursday of April, and there should be another episode of TAR. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Atlanta Rising

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on April 21, 2020








Atlanta Rising: The Invention of an International City 1946-1996 is on the shelf at the Chamblee library. This book is a history of Atlanta in the modern era, written by former fishwrapper scribe Frederick Allen. This is a repost from 2014. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

The story begins in 1948. AR is weighted more to the older part of the story. The main text is 248 pages. On page 124, Ivan Allen has just built a controversial roadblock on Peyton Road, which would be in 1962. The further along in the story, the fewer details are included. The first big story is when Georgia had two governors. This is one of the best descriptions of the two Governors controversy around, and does not mention Ben Fortson’s wheelchair cushion.

The mayor at the start of the story is William B. Hartsfield. “Willie B” was a leader in creating the Atlanta Airport, and in building it into the powerhouse it is today. He was mayor until 1961, when Ivan Allen Jr. moved into the office.

AR has many moments of unintentional irony. When you read a book 18 years after it was written, and fifty years after the events in the book, you see things that could not have been imagined before. In 1960, many of the political-business elite thought it was time for Mr. Hartsfield to retire. Among his shortcomings was an indifference to sports. Mr. Hartsfield thought that a new stadium would be too great a drain on the city’s taxpayers. Fifty four years, and three stadiums, later, the power elite is going to build another stadium. Atlanta Stadium cost eighteen million dollars. The Blank bowl will cost over a billion. (In the past year, a plan to move the Braves to Smyrna was announced.)

One of the big stories here is civil rights. Atlanta came out of that struggle looking pretty good. It was a combination of image conscious businessmen, enlightened black leadership, and a huge helping of dumb luck. In 1961, the city was under federal pressure to integrate the schools. The state was firm in opposition, and the city wasn’t crazy about the idea anyway. Then, another federal court ordered the integration of the University of Georgia. Since the people would not stand for messing with their beloved University, the state laws forbidding integration were quietly repealed. The city schools were integrated with a minimum of fuss. (The book tells this story much better than a slack blogger.)

The controversy about the 1956 model state flag was going full steam when AR was written. The book has some legislative records, which for some reason never made it into the fishwrapper. There is no clear cut answer as to why the legislature changed the state flag. It was mentioned that at the national political conventions, you could not have a written sign, but you could wave a state flag. This controversy provided a diversion from gold dome crookedness, and hopefully has been laid to rest.

A man named Lester Maddox sold fried chicken, and ran for public office. AR describes Lester as looking a bit like an angry chicken. Through a series of constitutional convulsions, Lester was elected Governor in 1966. The state survived his tenure. In the seventies, when Jimmy Carter was running for President, Lester said a lot of rude things about Jimmy, helping the smiling peanut farmer get elected. In another turn of fate, Lester Maddox died June 25, 2003. This was two days after the eternal departure of Maynard Jackson, the first black Mayor of Atlanta.

The book ends with the 1996 Olympics looming over the city. Billy Payne led a smart campaign to secure the games for Atlanta. One of his moves was to keep Jimmy Carter and Ted Turner out of the action. After the 1980 boycott, and the Goodwill Games, neither person was popular with the I.O.C. The book was published before 1996. The Olympics were a blast.









7 Practical Tips To Stop

Posted in Library of Congress, Weekly Notes by chamblee54 on April 20, 2020

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