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1822 Confederate general William Stephen Walker was born in Pittsburgh, Penn. He fought in the Mexican War and in 1855 was commissioned a cavalry captain. Walker resigned his U.S. Army commission in 1861 and joined the Confederate cause as a lieutenant. He was promoted to colonel, and then in Oct. 1862 to brigadier general. He had command of South Carolina military district, then a brigade command. He was wounded and captured at Petersburg.
Walker died on June 7, 1899, in Atlanta, Georgia and was buried in Oakland Cemetery.
1854 African-American educator Lucy Craft Laney was born in Macon, Georgia. She grew up in a household that encouraged reading, and at an early age showed herself to be an exceptional student. Laney enrolled in Atlanta University at age fifteen and graduated with the first class in 1873. She began her teaching career in Savannah, staying for ten years before moving to Augusta.
Laney returned to Savannah briefly before returning to Augusta to fulfill a promise she made to a local Baptist minister – to establish a school for African-American children. She opened the school in 1883 in the basement of a Presbyterian church – with only five students and virtually no support. Yet, Laney persevered, and by the end of the second year enrollment had grown to 234. In its third year, the school was chartered as a normal and industrial school. Although the trend of the times to educate African Americans in vocational training, Laney established a full liberal arts curriculum. Despite many hardships, her school continued to grow, eventually attracting over 900 students. Laney constantly sought support for her school, and found a generous donor in Francine Haines, an influential member of the Women's Executive Committee of the Home Missions of the Presbyterian church. The school was ultimately named for Haines, and continued to grow, offering Augusta's first kindergarten and nurse training program for African Americans.
Laney died during the Depression on October 23, 1933. After her death, the school began to lose support, finally closing in 1949. But Laney's contributions were not forgotten; Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter selected Laney as one of the first three African-Americans to have their portrait hang in Georgia's state capitol. Today, Lucy C. Laney High School stands on the site of her old school in recognition of her life-long devotion to children and their education.
1861 After 34 hours of bombardment, the Union commander of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor surrendered to Confederate forces. The Stars and Stripes were lowered from the flag pole and replaced by the Confederate Stars and Bars.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1944 Martin Luther King Jr. won the oratorical contest at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, earning the right to represent the school at the Elks Club's state oratorical contest. Read his speech here.
1948 General Dwight D. Eisenhower and wife Mamie arrived in Augusta on their first visit. Eisenhower loved golf and and had come for ten days of golf at the Augusta National Golf Club. He had recently resigned as U.S. Army Chief of Staff and would soon assume the presidency of Columbia University. Of his ten-day trip to Augusta Eisenhower said he just wanted "to relax and play a little golf." As a result of his visit, the Augusta National Golf Club invited him to become a member, an offer he readily accepted. He would remain a club member until his death in 1969. After his election as President in 1952, Eisenhower would visit the Augusta National course 29 times during his two terms.
1954 Hank Aaron played his first game for Milwaukee Braves.
Playing in left field, Aaron had no hits in five at-bats in the Braves 9-8 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Aaron had his first home run in the major leagues ten days later.
1970 Billy Casper won the Masters golf tournament.
1975 Jack Nicklaus won his 5th Masters golf tournament.
When introduced to the crowd, Turner burst from his seat and ran to the pitcher's mound. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm did not spill over to the team, who lost 6-1 to Cincinnati.
1980 Seve Ballesteros became the youngest winner of the Masters golf tournament (until Tiger Woods captured this title in 1997).
1982 The Atlanta Braves recorded their 7th consecutive win as their 13-game season-opening winning streak continued. After trailing in the game, the Braves pulled ahead in the seventh inning to give pitcher Gene Garber the victory.
1986 At age 46, Jack Nicklaus won a record sixth Masters golf tournament with a 9-under-par score of 279 for the four rounds. He became the oldest player to win the tournament's Green Jacket.
1997 With a record 18-under-par score, Tiger Woods became the first African-American to win the Masters golf tournament. At age 21, he also became the youngest golfer to win the Masters. Four years later, Woods came in 16 under par to win his second green jacket.
2003 After 72 holes, Mike Weir and Lee Mattiace ended the Masters' final round tied at 7 under par. In the first sudden death since 1990, Weir won his first Masters golf tournament – also becoming the first Canadian in history to win a major U.S. golf championship. Tiger Woods, finishing at 2 over par, failed in his bid to win his third consecutive Masters.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1861 As 63-year-old planter and businessman John Banks recorded in his diary, the residents of Columbus, Georgia were rejoicing at the capture of Fort Sumter. Banks agreed with secession, but the war would cost him a terrible price. Seven of his sons would fight for the Confederacy – and three would die in battle. But for now, it was time for celebration:
Source: John Banks, Autobiography of John Banks, 1797 - 1870 (Austell, Ga.: privately printed by Elberta Leonard, 1936), p. 23.
1865 Captured and on prison liberty in Richmond, Va., Georgian W.C. McCall wrote to his wife of the Confederate evacuation at Petersburg, his inability to keep up with his unit, and decision to go to Richmond and give himself up to Union forces:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), "Dear Mother: don't grieve about me. If I get killed, I'll only be dead.": Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 348-49.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1865 With three sons having been killed the previous year in Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, the Confederacy on the verge of collapse, and in poor health, 67-year-old John Banks of Columbus, Ga., wrote sadly in his diary:
Source: John Banks, Autobiography of John Banks, 1797 - 1870 (Austell, Ga.: privately printed by Elberta Leonard, 1936), p. 36.
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