Chamblee54

Lost Atlanta

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on January 10, 2018

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Lost Atlanta is a coffee table book. The content is the buildings, and institutions, that no longer exist. Atlanta has a long love affair with the wrecking ball. General Sherman was a minor player. Pictures for your Wednesday morning entertainment are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This is a repost.

PG is a native, and knows a few things about the city. While looking through LA, he began to take notes of things he did not know. The names behind the Ferry Roads is one. Plantation owner James Power established Power’s Ferry in 1835. Hardy Pace established his ferry in the 1850s. The fare was 62 cents for a full wagon, 50 cents for an empty wagon, 12 cents for a man and a horse, and 4 cents per head of cattle. The last ferry to cease operations was the Campbellton Ferry, in south Fulton county. The Campbellton Ferry ceased operations in 1958.

Wheat Street Baptist Church is a prominent Atlanta institution. If you look for Wheat Street on google, all you see is Old Wheat Street. It turns out that Wheat Street was renamed Auburn Avenue. “Originally called Wheat Street, the road was renamed in 1893 at the request of white petitioners who believed Auburn Avenue had a more cosmopolitan sound.”

Bald Hill, aka Leggett’s Hill, was leveled in 1958 to make way for the East Expressway, later known as I-20. On July 22, 1864, the Battle of Atlanta was fought there. After the unpleasantness, Frederick Koch bought farm land on the site. His house was at 382 Moreland Avenue. The house was demolished in 1953. South of I-20, 1400 McPherson Avenue has a monument. Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson was killed at that location.

The outfield wall at Ponce De Leon park was covered with advertising. One sign was for Southern Bread. The picture had a “Southern Colonel”… apparently the only type of officer in the CSA … saying “I’d even go North for Southern Bread.” This ad was also painted on the side of a building on Tenth Street, just off Peachtree. The late Jim Henson produced a tv ad for Southern Bread.

Jacobs Drug Store was a prominent chain at one time. It was founded by Joseph Jacobs. Mr. Jacobs had a store in the Norcross building, on Peachtree Street at Marietta Street. In 1886, the soda fountain mixed John Pemberton’s patent medicine with carbonated soda water. The rest is history.

There are a few notes, which do not justify a paragraph. The Governor’s Mansion was at 250 The Prado, in Ansley Park, until a new GM was built on West Paces Ferry road. The Henry Grady hotel did not have a thirteenth floor, but went from 12 to 14. This did not stop the building from being demolished, to make way for the Peachtree Plaza hotel.

When Laurent DeGive built his grand opera house at Peachtree and Houston (Now JW Dobbs,) people were horrified. The central business district was south of five points. The area north, where the opera house went up, was residential. In 1932, the opera house was renovated, and opened as the Loew’s Grand. In 1939, it hosted the world premiere of “Gone With The Wind.” On the other side of Houston Street was the Paramount Theater, and across Peachtree was the Coca Cola sign. The GP building occupies the site today.

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When You Agree With Justice Thomas

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Race, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on January 9, 2018

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SCOTUS sent the death penalty case of Keith Tharpe back to the lower courts today. This is the Pontius Pilate approach, which might not save Mr. Tharpe from eventual execution. Here is the opinion, and the dissent by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Chamblee 54 has written about this case twice before. Keith Tharpe And Jaquelin Freeman is about the case itself. The short version is that Mr. Tharpe allegedly murdered his sister in law, and raped his estranged wife, after kidnapping both. There is little doubt that Mr. Tharpe is guilty. A jury sentenced him to death, after deliberating for two hours.

The Juror Who Said The N-Word is about the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ of this case. Seven years after the crime, a lawyer interviewed a juror, Barney Gattie. The gentleman said some rude things about black people. This post has a verbatim rendering, and some more information that is salient to the case. “Gat­tie’s remarkable affidavit—which he never retracted— presents a strong factual basis for the argument that Tharpe’s race affected Gattie’s vote for a death verdict.”

The dissent tells a different story. “More than seven years after his trial, Tharpe’s lawyers interviewed one of his jurors, Barney Gattie. The result­ing affidavit stated that Gattie knew Freeman, and that her family was “what [he] would call a nice black family.” The affidavit continued that, in Gattie’s view, “there are two types of black people: 1. Black folks and 2. Niggers.” Tharpe “wasn’t in the ‘good’ black folks category,” according to the affidavit, and if Freeman had been “the type Tharpe is, then picking between life and death for Tharpe wouldn’t have mattered so much.” But because Freeman and her family were “good black folks,” the affidavit continued, Gattie thought Tharpe “should get the electric chair for what he did.” Gattie’s affidavit went on to explain that “after studying the Bible,” he had “wondered if black people even have souls.” The affidavit also noted that some of the other jurors “wanted blacks to know they weren’t going to get away with killing each other.”

A couple of days later, the State obtained another affi­davit from Gattie. In that second affidavit, Gattie stated that he “did not vote to impose the death penalty because [Tharpe] was a black man,” but instead because the evi­dence presented at trial justified it and because Tharpe showed no remorse. The affidavit explained that Gattie had consumed “seven or more beers” on the afternoon he signed the first affidavit. Although he had signed it, he “never swore to [it] nor was [he] ever asked if [the] statement was true and accurate.” He also attested that many of the statements in the first affidavit “were taken out of context and simply not accurate.” And he felt that the lawyers who took it “were deceiving and misrepresented what they stood for.” “which he never retracted.”

“A state postconviction court presided over Gattie’s depo­sition. Gattie again testified that, although he signed the affidavit, he did not swear to its contents. Gattie also testified that when he signed the affidavit he had con­sumed “maybe a 12 pack, [and] a few drinks of whiskey, over the period of the day.” Tharpe’s lawyers did not question Gattie about the contents of his first affidavit at the deposition. They instead spent much of the deposition asking Gattie unrelated questions about race, which the state court ruled irrelevant—like whether he was familiar with Uncle Tom’s Cabin or whether his granddaughter would play with a black doll. The lawyers’ failure to address the contents of Gattie’s first affidavit troubled the state court. Just before it permitted Gattie to leave, the court advised Tharpe’s lawyers that it might “totally discount” Gattie’s first affidavit, and it again invited them to ask Gattie questions about its contents. Tharpe’s lawyers declined the opportunity.

The state court also heard deposition testimony from ten of Tharpe’s other jurors and received an affidavit from the eleventh. None of the jurors, two of whom were black, corroborated the statements in Gattie’s first affidavit about how some of the jurors had considered race. The ten jurors who testified all said that race played no role in the jury’s deliberations. The eleventh juror did not mention any consideration of race either.”

Justice Thomas goes full Scalia in this closing paragraph. “Today’s decision can be explained only by the “unusual fact” of Gattie’s first affidavit. The Court must be disturbed by the racist rhetoric in that affidavit, and must want to do something about it. But the Court’s decision is no profile in moral courage. By remanding this case to the Court of Appeals for a useless do-over, the Court is not doing Tharpe any favors. And its unusual disposition of his case callously delays justice for Jaquelin Freeman, the black woman who was brutally murdered by Tharpe 27 years ago. Because this Court should not be in the busi­ness of ceremonial handwringing, I respectfully dissent.”

There is a lot of legalese in this document, which makes IANAL heads hurt. One wonders if the second affidavit qualifies as a retraction. Maybe SCOTUS felt the need to virtue signal on racism. There is also a lot of talk about whether the statements by Mr. Gattie should be allowed to influence the appeals process. Pena-Rodriguez is cited, along with many other cases. This is what lawyers do.

The majority opinion, as well as most press reports on today’s ruling, does not mention Mr. Gattie’s intoxication during the first affidavit. Indeed, since Mr. Gattie never read this affidavit, nor swore to it, there is no telling how accurate it is. We don’t know what questions attorneys were asking the elderly drunk. Did the lawyers lead him on, and put words in his mouth? The ethics of interviewing an intoxicated man, to try to save your client from execution, are questionable.

One might also ask what this says about the death penalty process. The state bends over backwards to give the illusion of fairness, and due process. An attorney goes out, interviewing jurors seven years after the trial, trying to find dirt. Getting a criminal off on a technicality is a regrettable consequence of our judicial system. Maybe in this case justice would have been served with a life sentence, without fishing trip juror interviews.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These details are from picture #06666, documenting “First Internation[al] Pageant of Pulchritude & Seventh Annual Bathing Girl Review at Galveston, Texas.” It was taken in 1926.

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Blackface Drag At Club Sheba

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on January 6, 2018

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Mary Cheney became famous in a traditional way. Her father is Dick Cheney, former VPOTUS, hunting guide, and terrorist. Apparently Ms. Cheney felt the need for attention recently. She posted the following matter on facebook.

“Why is it socially acceptable — as a form of entertainment — for men to put on dresses, make up and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.) — but it is not socially acceptable — as a form of entertainment — for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans?”

When it comes to getting people to look at you, Mary Cheney is not in the same hemisphere as RuPaul. By remarkable coincidence, there is going to be a new season of a cable tv show, about drag queens, hosted by RuPaul. The comments by Ms. Cheney were seen by RuPaul as an opportunity to promote product. There is no bad publicity.

We are not going to discuss the moral calculus of blackface vs drag in this post. That’s what facebook, twitter, and comment sections are for. This blog does not have the intellectual gravitas of youtube comment sections. Mary Cheney and RuPaul are getting the attention they require.

The pictures today are from The Library of Congress. These ladies were participating in “Inter city beauties, Atlantic City Pageant, 1925.” There is something appropriate about beauty pageant pictures illustrating a discussion of the relative political correctness of blackface and drag queens. If you want a picture of Mary Cheney, go somewhere else. If you don’t want to see RuPaul, good luck.

The second part of this feature is a repost. The show was performed in 1979. I recently saw “Carroll.” He lives in Pennsylvania today, and has a beard nine inches long.

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Reading about Shirley Q. Liquor brought back memories of a night long ago. A young man, who I will call Carroll, grew up across the street. In his spare time, he did drag shows. What I was expecting was Carol Burnett and Lily Tomlin, using his own voice. One Sunday night, free admission and a buffet was all I needed to venture downtown and see the show.

The venue was an unpretentious bar called Club Sheba. The clientele was mostly lesbians, many of whom were African Americans.

Club Sheba was located on Forrest Avenue. The street was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate General who, some say, founded the Ku Klux Klan. Forrest Avenue late became Ralph McGill Boulevard, named after the former editor of the Atlanta Constitution.

As show time approached, I saw a table that had empty seats. I pulled back a seat, and a beefy lady informed me that she did not want a man to sit at that table.

The first act was what I expected. The reputation of Carol Burnett did not suffer, and Lily Tomlin was still in the closet. After the first act, I shot a game of pool with my friend, and went to the buffet for a second plate. A lady stopped me. ”You’re not supposed to get full”

I went back to the pool table. After a while there was a crowd standing around, and it was evident that a second act was going to start soon. I saw a black lady in the crowd making faces at me, took a second look, and realized that it was Carroll.

He did not use his voice this time, but lip synced to Grace Jones and Diana Ross. He wore blackface, and an afro wig. The crowd at the Club Sheba enjoyed this part of the show. Many of the Black Lesbians went to the stage and stuffed dollar bills in his faux bosom.

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Bowel Games

Posted in Georgia History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on December 27, 2017

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The story below is a repost from 2013. The Dawgs® had a good year, and are in the final four. The pictures are from The Library of Congress .

The Georgia Bulldogs beat somebody’s Aggies in Shreveport, Louisiana last night. The affair is something called the Independence Bowl. The Fishwrapper has an ad for a casino-hotel-spa. The link no longer works. Athens can go back to creating a school the football team can be proud of.

This is the season of bowl games. A few years ago, any town with a stadium, and a chamber of commerce, could get a bowl game. Any school with .500 season could go to a bowl, many of whom now had grafted on corporate names. There was, literally, the poulon weedeater bowl holiday classic.

What follows is a story PG read in Sports Illustrated when he was a kid. There is no source, and there is a slight possibility that it is not true.

In the sixties, NBC had a new years day triple header of bowl games. The sugar bowl was followed by the rose bowl was followed by the orange bowl. Hangovers and national championships were fixed in one day. NBC made handsome profits.

An Olympic committee had a meeting one day, to determine who would telecast the upcoming games. The man from NBC went in, with charts, and promises of money for the amateur athletes. The presentation from NBC centered on the january first triple header, the sugar bowl, the rose bowl, and the orange bowl.

Another network won the bid to telecast the games. After the meeting, an Olympics official had a private conversation with the NBC man. The committee felt that their emphasis on the bowel games was in bad taste.

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Flannery O’Connor

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on December 21, 2017

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With one day before it was due, PG finished reading Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor , by Brad Gooch. The author is a professor of English at William Patterson University in New Jersey. He spares no citations, to show where he gets his information. This is a repost.

Chamblee54 has written before about Miss O’Connor , and repeated the post a year later. There is a radio broadcast of a Flannery O’Connor lecture. (The Georgia accent of Miss O’Connor is much commented on in the book. To PG, it is just another lady speaking.)

Mary Flannery O’Connor was born March 25, 1925 in Savannah GA. The local legend is that she was conceived in the shadow of St. John the Baptist Cathedral, a massive facility on Lafayette Square. Her family did leave nearby, and her first school was just a few steps away. This is also a metaphor for the role of the Catholic Church in her life. Mary Flannery was intensely Catholic, and immersed in the scholarship of the church. This learning was a large part of her life. How she got from daily mass, to writing stories about Southern Grotesque, is one mystery at the heart of Flannery O’Connor.

Ed O’Connor doted on his daughter, but had to take a job in Atlanta to earn a living. His wife Regina and daughter Mary Flannery moved with him, to a house behind Christ The King Cathedral. Mr. O’Connor’s health was already fading, and Mother and Daughter moved in with family in Milledgeville. Ed O’Connor died, of Lupus Erythematosus, on February 1, 1941.

Mary Flannery went to college in Milledgeville, and on to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She dealt with cold weather, went to Mass every day, and wrote. She was invited to live at an artists colony called Yaddo, in upstate New York. She lived for a while with Robert and Sally Fitzgerald in Connecticut, all while working on her first novel, “Wise Blood”. In 1950, she was going home to Milledgeville for Christmas, and had been feeling poorly. She went to the hometown doctor, who thought at first that the problem was rheumatoid arthritis. The illness of Flannery O’Connor was Lupus Erythematosus.

Miss O’Connor spent much of that winter in hospitals, until drugs were found that could help. She moved, with her mother, to a family farm outside Milledgeville, which she renamed Andalusia. She entered a phase of her life, with the Lupus in relative remission, and the drugs firing her creative fires, where she wrote the short stories that made her famous.

Another thing happened when she was recuperating. Flannery was reading the Florida “Market Bulletin”, and saw an ad for “peafowl”, at sixty five dollars a pair. She ordered a pair, and they soon arrived via Railway Express. This was the start of the peacocks at Andalusia, a part of the legend.

During this period of farm life and writing, Flannery had several friends and correspondents. There was the “Bible Salesmen”, Erik Langkjaer, who was probably the closest thing Flannery had to a boyfriend. Another was Betty Hester, who exchanged hundreds of letters with Miss O’Connor. This took place under the stern eye of Regina O’Connor, the no nonsense mother-caregiver of Flannery. (Mr. Gooch says that Betty Hester committed suicide in 1998. That would be consistent with PG stumbling onto an estate sale of Miss Hester in that time frame.)

The book of short stories came out, and Flannery O’Connor became famous. She was also dependent on crutches, and living with a stern mother. There were lectures out of town, and a few diverse personalities who became her friends. She went to Mass every day, and collected books by Catholic scholars. Flannery was excited by the changes in the church started by Pope John XXIII, and in some ways could be considered a liberal. (She supported Civil Rights, in severe contrast to her mother.)

In 1958, Flannery O’Connor went to Europe, including a trip to the Springs at Lourdes. Her cousin Katie Semmes (the daughter of Captain John Flannery, CSA) pushed Flannery hard to go to the springs, to see if it would help the Lupus. Flannery was reluctant…” I am one of those people who could die for his religion sooner than take a bath for it“. When the day for the visit came, Flannery took a token dip in the waters. Her condition did improve, briefly. (It is worth speculating here about the nature of Flannery’s belief, which was apparently more intellectual than emotional. Could it be that, if she was more persuaded by the mystical, emotional side of the church, and taken the healing waters more seriously, that she might have been cured?)

At some point in this story, her second novel came out, and the illness blossomed. Much of 1964 was spent in hospitals, and she got worse and worse. On August 3, 1964, Mary Flannery O’Connor died,

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PG remembers the first time the name Flannery O’Connor sank in. He was visiting some friends, in a little house across from the federal prison.

Rick(?) was the buddy of a character known as Harry Bowers. PG was never sure what Harry’s real name was. One night, Rick was talking about Southern Gothic writers, and he said that Flannery O’Connor was just plain weird. ”Who else would have a bible salesman show up at a farm, take the girl up into a hayloft, unscrew her wooden leg and leave her there? Weird.”

Flannery O’Connor was recently the subject of a biography written by Brad Gooch. The book is getting a bit of publicity. Apparently, the Milledgeville resident was a piece of work.

PG read some reviews of this biography, and found a collection of short stories at the library. The book included ” Good Country People”, the tale about the bible salesman. Apparently, this story was inspired by a real life incident. (Miss O’Connor had lupus the last fifteen years of her life. She used crutches.) And yes, it is weird. Not like hollywood , but in the way of rural Georgia.

Some of the reviews try to deal with her attitudes about Black people. On a certain level, she is a racist. She uses the n word freely, and her black characters are not inspiring people. The thing is, the white characters are hardly any better, and in some cases much worse.

The stories are well crafted, with vivid descriptions of people and places. The reader floats along with the flow of the story, until he realizes that Grandma has made a mistake on a road trip. The house she got her son to look for is in Tennessee, not Georgia. She makes him drive the family car into a ditch. Some drifting killers come by. Grandma asks one if he prays, while his partner is shooting her grandchildren. Weird.

In another story, a drifter happens upon a pair of women in the country. The daughter is thirty years old, is deaf, and has never spoken a word. The drifter teaches her to say bird and sugarpie. The mother gives him fifteen dollars for a honeymoon, if he will marry her. He takes the fifteen dollars and leaves her asleep in a roadside diner.

There was a yard sale one Saturday afternoon. It was in a house off Lavista Road, between Briarcliff and Cheshire Bridge. The house had apparently not been painted in the last forty years. Thousands and thousands of paperback books were on the shelves. The lady taking the money said that the lady who lived there was the friend, and correspondent of, the “Milledgeville writer” Flannery O’Connor. This is apparently Betty Hester, who is mentioned in many of the biography reviews.

PG told the estate sale lady that she should be careful how she said that. There used to be a large mental hospital in Milledgeville, and the name is synonymous in Georgia with mental illness. The estate sale lady had never heard that.

This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. It was written like James Joyce. An earlier edition of this post had comments.

Fr. J. December 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm I am glad you take an interest in Flannery, but to say baldly that she is a racist is to very much misunderstand her. For another view on Flannery and race, you might want to read her short story, “Everything that Rises Must Converge.”
chamblee54 December 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm “On a certain level, she is a racist.” That is not the same as “baldly” labeling her a racist. (And I have a full head of hair, thank you). As a native Georgian, I am aware of the many layers of nuance in race relations. I feel that the paragraph on race in the above feature is accurate.

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From The Heart Of Atlanta To Tyler Perry

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on December 14, 2017

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There is an old saying, what goes around comes around. When you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. The thing is, it is not always obvious what is payback for what. Moreton Rolleston Jr. filed a lawsuit to have the Civil Rights Act declared unconstitutional. Forty years later, a Black man, built a mansion on the site of Mr. Rolleston’s home. The fact that this Black man earned his money by playing Black women, in movies, is icing on the cake.

When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, Moreton Rolleston, Jr. owned the Heart of Atlanta Motel. He filed a lawsuit, trying to have the law overturned by the courts. The case went to the Supreme Court, which upheld the law.

The legal justification of the Civil Rights Act was a law giving the U.S. Government the right to regulate interstate commerce. Mr. Rolleston argued that this use of the commerce clause went too far.
“‘The argument that this law was passed to relieve a burden on interstate commerce is so much hogwash. It was intended to regulate the acts of individuals.’ If the commerce clause can be stretched that far, declared Rolleston, ‘Congress can regulate every facet of life.'” (PG supports all citizens having the right to housing, education, etc. He also wonders if we are on a slippery slope. The government keeps taking more and more freedom away.) (The link for the quote no longer works.)
In 1969, Tyler Perry was born. From humble beginnings, he has been incredibly successful. His signature character is a woman named Madea.

In 1985, Mr. Rolleston was involved in a real estate deal that went sour. He was sued. In 2003, Mr. Rolleston was evicted from his Buckhead home. In 2005, the property was sold to Tyler Perry. Mr. Rolleston sued Mr. Perry, claiming that 2035 Garraux Road was still his property.

Mr. Rolleston , was disbarred in 2007. The Veteran’s History Project shows his race as “Unspecified.” Moreton Mountford Rolleston, Jr., born December 30, 1917, died August 29, 2013.

HT Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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War Between The States

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on December 9, 2017





It is a truism that history is written by the winner of the war. This seems to apply to the naming of the conflict. There was a horrific armed struggle in North America between 1861 and 1865. The name used most often is Civil War. To many in the South, it is the War Between The States. In PG’s humble opinion, WBTS is a better name.

In fifth grade, PG had to write an essay about the Battle of Atlanta. The essay was a device for teaching grammar, utilized by the english teacher, Miss McKenzie. The contest was sponsored by the Daughters of the Confederacy . The expression “Civil War” was not permitted. The proper name for this conflict was War Between the States.

In many ways, this conflict started as soon as the United States became independent from Great Britain. The South was an agrarian society, with slaves to work the fields. The north was becoming an industrial society, with a need for an independent work force. The north wanted high tariffs to protect her industries, while the south wanted to sell it’s cotton to Europe. There were plenty of ways for this conflict to manifest.

Slavery was a very important factor. The south wanted to keep “the peculiar institution” intact, while many in the north were horrified. There were numerous compromises over the years, as Congress struggled to keep the Union intact. This ties in with a central dilemma of the american experience … how much power to give to the states, and how much power to give to the federal government.

The phrase civil war is defined as “A war fought between factions of the inhabitants of a single country, or the citizens of a single republic”. By the time the shooting started, the southern states had left the union. They formed a confederacy of independent states, rather than one monolithic union. It was, indeed, a war between the states.

This is a repost. Pictures, of Union soldiers, are from The Library of Congress.




Fleetwood Mac

Posted in Georgia History, Music by chamblee54 on November 17, 2017

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PG has read the autobiography of Mick Fleetwood. If this had been a made up tale of fiction, no one would believe it. Mick is not the manufacturer of enemas, nor the namesake of a Cadillac Model. The possibility does exist that he has used those two products.

John Mayall gave his guitar player, Peter Green, some studio time as a birthday present. “The Green God” used a rhythm section from the Bluesbreakers, Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass). At the end of the day, Mr. Green wrote “Fleetwood Mac” on the can holding the tapes.

Before long, Mr. Green started his own band, and named it after the rhythm section. (Does anyone know the bass player and drummer of the Atlanta Rhythm Section?) Fleetwood Mac started as a blues band, and became popular in England. Mr. Fleetwood celebrated by getting together with Jenny Boyd, who became his wife. Miss Boyd is the sister of Patti Boyd, the wife of George Harrison, aka Layla.

The first Fleetwood Mac album in the USA was “Then Play On”. The first show in Atlanta was at the Oglethorpe University gym, and by all accounts was a wild night. PG saw the sign advertising the event, but did not attend.

About the time of “Then Play On”, Peter Green started to get a bit weird. He dropped out of the band, but Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan were still playing guitars. For a little while. Jeremy Spencer took a walk outside a Los Angeles hotel, and got recruited by the Children of G-d. Danny Kirwan had some issues, and decided to leave the band. Bob Welch stopped by for a few years, joined by Christine McVie, the wife of John.

The band was managed at this time by Clifford Davies, who by all accounts was a nasty piece of work. A man named Bob Weston had joined the band, and lasted until he had an affair with Jenny Fleetwood. Mr. Weston was fired, and a tour canceled. Clifford Davies decided that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac, and hired a group of players to go out and do shows. Fleetwood and the Mcvies were not amused, and Mick Fleetwood took over as the manager of the band.

By 1974, the band was pushing along, and selling about 300,000 copies of each album. On Halloween night 1974, Fleetwood Mac played at the Omni with Jefferson Starship. PG was at the Municipal Auditorium that night, seeing Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt.

In late 1974 Mick was looking for a studio. He came to a place, and an album came on the speakers, Mick was impressed by the guitar player. Soon after, Bob Welch felt the need to leave the band, and Mick thought the guitar player he heard at the studio was a good fit. (The band never did auditions, just asked people they liked to join). The guitar player was Lindsay Buckingham, and his girlfriend/musical partner was Stevie Nicks. This was the band that set sales records.

The first album with Buckingham/Nicks, simply titled “Fleetwood Mac”, became a phenomenon. The band was soon headlining in stadiums, and was on every fm radio station in the land. The band went into the studio to record a follow up. The second album took over a year to produce, and saw the McVies and the Fleetwoods get divorced. Buckingham and Nicks split their common law arrangement. Out of the turmoil came “Rumours”, which has sold roughly thirty million copies.

On August 29, 1978, PG got to see Fleetwood Mac at the Omni. Mick Fleetwood was on top of his game, pounding the skins with a glee that could be seen from the cheap seats. Fleetwood was a highlight, standing two meters tall and creating havoc on the drum stand.

Reading the book tells the rest of the story. Fleetwood’s father had died earlier that summer, and Mick was devastated. The band was straining under the pressures of super duper stardom. Mick had attempted a reconciliation with his wife, which was a painful failure. There was an affair between Mick and Stevie Nicks at this time. The idea that Mick Fleetwood could perform like he did that night tells you what a trooper he was.

The story continues. The book was written in 1991. There might be a volume two. This is a repost.

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The Burning Of Atlanta

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on November 14, 2017

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Around this time 152 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.

The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire Scarlet O’Hara flees in “Gone With The Wind”.

After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.

Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. This is a repost. The pictures are from The Library of Congress

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About this time every year, there is a post about the burning of Atlanta. One of the sources is a lecture by Marc Wortman. If you have an hour to spare, this talk is worth your time. One of the stories told is the tale of Mr. Luckie.

“According to folklore, two stories abound as to how Luckie Street was named. The first is that its moniker came from one of Atlanta’s oldest families, and the other, probably closer to the truth, regales the life of Solomon “Sam” Luckie. Luckie, as it turns out, wasn’t so lucky after all. When General William Tecumseh Sherman first came marching through Atlanta in 1864, Luckie, a free Black man who made his living as a barber, was leaning against a gas lamp post in downtown talking to a group of businessmen. A burst from a cannon shell wounded him; he survived, but later died from his injuries. Folklore suggests that he may have been one of the first casualties of the assault on Atlanta during Sherman’s March to the Sea, and Luckie Street, an extension of the city’s famed Sweet Auburn Avenue, was later named in his memory.”

Marc Wortman wrote a book, The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. The one star review, and comments to that review, are unusually detailed. Here is a selection.

“…People forget – or were never taught in school – that most Confederate soldiers descended from Revolutionary War patriots or were up-country poor sons of farmers. Many Confederate soldiers were relatively recent new arrivals to the U.S., semi-literate dirt poor immigrants from Ireland and Scotland who’d never had the chance to own even an acre of their own land in Europe. In the mix were well-educated, elite merchant business owning French Huguenot refugees of the Catholic Bourbon genocide of Protestants. These immigrants had nowhere else to go, 9 times out of 10 never owned a slave, and fought for the CSA to keep what little they’d hardscrabble carved out over a decade of arrival into the U.S.”

The War Between The States continues to be a source of controversy. After the Charleston church killings, many comments were made about the Confederate battle flag. (If you can’t talk about gun control or mental health, you talk about a symbol.) This led to discussions about the war itself. There were ritual denunciations of slavery, which was assumed to be the sole cause of the conflict. The fact that the vast majority of white southerners did not own slaves was dismissed.

The notion of autonomous states in a federal union was novel when the United States Constitution was written. The debate over federalism versus states rights continues to this day. States that want to legalize marijuana may be the next battleground. (Few are expecting secession over bong rights.) Many in the CSA saw the Union as being a conquering army, and fought to defend their homes. While slavery was certainly a factor in the creation of the CSA, it was not the only Casus belli. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

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Cemetery Blues

Posted in Georgia History, Poem by chamblee54 on October 1, 2017









PG and Uzi had their usual Sunday phone call, and agreed to go to “Sunday in the Park”. It is a festival in Oakland Cemetery, with live music, people in costumes, open mausoleums, and lots of good clean fun. It wasn’t until that evening that PG learned that today is Dead Poets Remembrance Day. Edgar Allan Poe met his maker on this day in 1849.

There was a Chamblee54 post about DPRD two years ago. The idea is to go to a cemetery and read a poem. An effort will be made to do that tonight, although promises about dead poets are notoriously unreliable. The 2010 post is included as part two of this feature.

The first poem read that afternoon was “Looking for the Buckhead Boys” by James Dickey. In the intervening two years, PG listened to a podcast with Christopher Dickey, the son of the writer. Sometimes bard is short for bastard.

So PG, Uzi, and Hazmat went to a festival in Oakland Cemetery. Like everything else, it is more popular and expensive. You had to pay to park, which Uzi generously took care of. The brick walls around the boneyard have been repaired, and no longer look like they are going to fall down. Those walls are important, because people are dying to get inside. This is the second time that PG and Uzi have attended the October festival in Oakland Cemetery.

There are always things that you need to see at Oakland. Margaret Mitchell, the Lion Statue, and the mausoleums are important stops. PG followed the signs to the grave of Bobby Jones. It had golf balls and a putter, which was not necessary.

Don LeVert was a member of the Atlanta Sky Hi Club for many, many years before his departure in 1997. PG and Uzi always seek him out, and it is usually a bit of an adventure finding him.

After visiting Don, PG found the marker for “Brother John Wade”. His time on earth was September 23, 1865 to January 15, 1916. This was from the autumn just after the War Between the States until 37 days before PG’s father was born in Rowland, North Carolina. There was a renewed sense of connection to the stone monuments.







The facebook friend said “Today is Dead Poets Remembrance Day, Oct. 7th, the day Edgar Allan Poe died. Be sure to visit a graveyard and read some poetry today”. PG didn’t have anything better to do.

The first obstacle was finding a book of poetry. PG is not a poetry person. A look at the shelf turned up a paperback, “125 years of Atlantic “. Poetry was to be found between those covers.

The book had two stickers, both saying 69 cents. At the old Book Nook, this meant that the book was half the price on the sticker. With tax, that would be 38 cents.

125YOA had stayed in PG’s car for a few years. Whenever he was stuck somewhere with time to kill, this book was waiting. One afternoon in 1998, there was a slow day at work. PG read a remembrance by Gertrude Stein, about life in France at the start of World War II.

The cemetery of choice was connected to the Nancy Creek Primitive Baptist Church. PG has driven by this facility thousands of times. He walked past the graves until he found a fallen tree to sit down on.

The first poem was “Looking for the Buckhead Boys” by James Dickey. PG began to read out loud, and soon could smell the drug store air of Wender and Roberts. The author bought fifty cents worth of gas at a Gulf station. Today, fifty cents might buy a tablespoon of gas, and Gulf was long ago bought out by BP. Wender and Roberts became a bar, which was torn down, to make way for a shopping destination.

Buckhead is not what it used to be. When Mr. Dickey was the bravest man in Buckhead ( he took a shit in the toilet at Tyree’s pool hall), PG was not even thought of. The traffic jams on Peachtree Street are still there, as the blue haired ladies follow poets into the ground.

When PG finished reading Mr. Dickey, he put a teal postit in the book, where the poem stood. PG looked up, and the graveyard seemed different. Maybe the sun had sank a bit in the sky, and maybe the poem had changed PG in a way he could not put into words. Maybe another poem was the answer. Take the glasses off, open the book at random, and turn the pages until a poem shows up.

On page 404…the historic Atlanta area code…was “The Wartime Journey” by Jan Struther. The 1944 work was unknown territory. A group of people are traveling on a train. The wounded vet, the untried recruit, the salesmen shared the space with a lady, taking a baby for her soldier husband to meet. The theme of the rhymes was that America was totally at war, and that war is different from peacetime. Today’s war in Babylon is not like that.

Halfway through the reading, a freight train pulled by. Today, passenger trains are a novelty, and freight rules the rails. The shipment today was double decked containers, ready to pull off and slap on an eighteen wheeler.

Deaths are said to come in threes, and reading poetry in a graveyard should be the same. PG went on a random search for a Moe, to go with the Curley and Larry already digested. A page of poems by Emily Dickinson was the result. These pages left PG unmoved. It was as if he was back in the sixth grade, with a horrible English teacher forcing him to memorize Hiawatha. It was time to go home.






Nine Eleven Story

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on September 11, 2017

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This is my 911 story. I repeat it every year at this time. If you saw it last year, it has not changed. Feel free to skip the text and look at the pictures, from The Library of Congress.

I was at work, and someone called out that someone had run a plane into the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it, until I heard that the second tower had been hit, then the Pentagon, then the towers collapsed, then a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

I focused on my job most of the day. There was always drama at that facility, and concentrating on my production duties helped to keep me saner. This was roughly the halfway point of my seven year tenure at this place.

One of the other workers was a bully for Jesus. He was a hateful loudmouth. After the extent of the damage became known, he shouted “They are doing this for Allah,” and prayed at his desk. The spectacle of the BFJ praying made me want to puke.

I became alienated from Jesus during these years. Once, I had once been tolerant of Christians and Jesus, as one would be with an eccentric relative. I began to loath the entire affair. I hear of others who found comfort in religion during this difficult time. That option simply was not available for me.

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Dragon Con Parade

Posted in Georgia History, Holidays, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 2, 2017


Labor Day Saturday got off to a shaky start. PG put the recharged battery in his camera, and noticed a white line on the monitor. A quick test shot was made, and the picture viewed on the computer. The white line is not on the picture.

Next was the fare machine at the marta station. PG does not ride very often, and loads the breeze card on a need-to-know basis. The fare machine was cranky, which is normal. All PG had was a ten dollar bill, and the machine gives change in Susan B. Anthony coins. PG did learn one secret of the turnstile. When the sign says to tap your card, that means to hold it flat against the pad for half a second.

The ride into town was unusually crowded for saturday morning. Of course, labor day saturday is not a normal day in Atlanta. There is Dragon Con, Black Gay Pride, and some kind of college football super game. It is a good day to stay in Brookhaven, but PG allowed himself to get talked into this.

The plan was to meet at the north end of the marta north avenue station, in the food court. Little did PG know that the station had been renovated, and the food court was closed. Of greater concern was the fact that Uzi was not there. A phone call was made, then another, then a text message. Uzi was at the other end of the station. The stress level was manageable.

The d-con parade … d con is a form of rodent poison, which somehow seems to fit this event … had already started. The idea was to walk down west peachtree a few blocks, and maybe it would be less crowded on peachtree when you walk up there. While it may have been marginally less crowded in the hospital-and-wino district, it was still packed. You can only see so much of the parade from the fifth row of the crowd, with or without big hair in front.

So the parade happened. There were starship troopers, barnyard poopers, medieval wenches, confederate trenches, loudspeakers playing the star wars theme, blondes making the team, ghost busters, crop dusters, trekkies, beckys, vlad the impaler, chad the inhaler, Lucy, Desi, Thurston, Lovie, Andy, Opie, and any other fantasy the costume cowboys can hot glue together.

On cue, towards the end of the circus, the jesus people came down the sidewalk, denouncing the harlots on television. The harlots walking down peachtree ignored them, as did most of the crowd. These idiots live for someone to pay them the compliment of arguing. When you wrestle with a hog, you get dirty, and the pig has a good time. Remember that the next time someone tells you about antifa versus the tiki torch bois.

Finally it was time to get on marta, and ride back to civilization. On the north line, you have one job. You get on the north springs red train, or you get on the doraville gold train. It is not complicated, except for today. The first train to come through did not have signs, indicating the destination. Nor did the conductor make announcements. PG somehow figured out that it was a red train, and that he needed to get off at lindbergh station. The next train to doraville had signs, and made regular announcements. The car waits in the parking lot undisturbed.

While editing the pictures that appear with this feature, PG listened to Shots Fired: Part 2. It is the story of a married couple. They have a fight, and the man goes off and gets drunk. Somehow, the police to go his house. His wife meets them with a shotgun. The police are offended, and shoot back. It is a *real story,* and a tasteful counterpoint to all the manufactured fantasy on peachtree street.