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1751 In London, Georgia's Trustees appointed a committee to make preparations to surrender the charter of the colony so that Georgia would be taken over by the British government and be operated as a royal colony. The action came two years before the charter's original expiration date of June 9, 1753, and was motivated by inadequate funding from the British government and a fear that if they waited two more years, Georgia would be annexed to South Carolina.
1861 Richard B. Russell Sr. was born near Marietta, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia obtaining an undergraduate degree in 1879 and a law degree in 1880. Russell began the practice of law in Athens, and in 1882 was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1882. Russell was committed to education, serving on the local boards of education in Athens, Winterville, and in the village (and later town) of Russell. During his six years in the General Assembly, Russell supported creation of Georgia Tech and the Georgia Normal and Industrial College for Women at Milledgeville [now Georgia College and State University]. He served on the governing boards of the University of Georgia the new college for women at Milledgeville, also serving on the first board of regents for the new University System of Georgia (1932-33).
Russell's is probably best remembered for his judicial career. He served as both prosecuting attorney and later judge of the western superior court circuit, judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals, and chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court (1926-1938). During his career, Russell also ran unsuccessful races for governor, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator. He died in Russell, Ga. on Dec. 3, 1938.
1913 After night watchman Newt Lee discovered Mary Phagan's body in the basement of the National Pencil Company, he called Atlanta police. Investigating the scene of the crime, police found two roughly scrawled notes, which they initially assume were written by Phagan. One of the notes indicates she was sexually assaulted, and both implicate a "long tall black negro." Believing they were written by Phagan before she died, Atlanta police arrested Newt Lee, who was black, and Arthur Mullinax, a white ex-street car driver, on suspicion of being involved in Phagan's murder. Mullinax, who had frequently driven Phagan to and from work, was arrested because a witness claimed to have seen the two together Saturday, with Phagan appearing to be dazed or drugged. Both men declared their innocence. For more, see the Leo Frank Case page.
1927 Civil rights activist Coretta Scott King was born in Heiberger, Alabama to Obie and Bernice Scott. She majored in education and music at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Because the local school system would not allow her to practice teach, Scott decided to pursue a career in music and enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
While there, she met Martin Luther King, Jr. After a brief courtship, they married in 1953.
The next year, she and King moved to Montgomery, Ala., where he became minister of the Drexel Ave. Baptist Church and helped launch the civil rights movement. Coretta Scott King became active in the movement. After her husband's assassination in 1968, Mrs. King continued her civil rights activities, founding the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia.
Coretta Scott King served as the center's president and chief executive officer from 1968 to 1995, when she stepped down and was succeeded by her youngest son, Dexter Scott King. She died on Jan. 30, 2006.
1971 Hank Aaron hit his 600th career home run of San Francisco pitcher Gaylord Perry.
1991 Augusta-born Amy Grant's "Baby, Baby" pushed to the number one popular music single in America. The singer/songwriter was born in Augusta, Georgia on Nov. 25, 1960.
2009 Author and educator Tom Deitz died in Gainesville, GA. Born on Jan. 17, 1952 in Young Harris, Georgia, Deitz attended Young Harris College and the University of Georgia, where he attained both a B.A. and M.A in English, and worked for a time, before embarking on a writing career that saw him publish over twenty works of fantasy. He was honored as Georgia Writer of the Year in 2006. Deitz also taught at Gainesville State College.
2012 President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visted Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia, after landing in Savannah aboard Air Force One. At an outdoor event at Fort Stewart, Obama signed an Executive Order to help America’s service members, veterans, and family members have the needed information to make informed educational decisions and protect them from aggressive and deceptive targeting by educational institutions. The order was aimed primarily at "diploma mills" - fraudulent schools that mislead prospective students regarding their education while cashing in on federal education funds. While at Fort Stewart, the President and First Lady also paid tribute to fallen soldiers.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1734 Johann Martin Boltzius was one of two German clergymen selected to accompany the first group of Salzburger emigrants to Georgia. Boltzius felt that God was behind everything that happened to the Salzburgers – both good and bad. As the following journal entry indicates, he even saw evidence of God's hand in the rattlesnake:
Source: George Fenwick Jones (ed.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America . . . Edited by Samuel Urlsperger: Volume I, 1733-1734 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1968), p. 80.
1861 From Columbus, Ga., John Banks recorded in his diary of the excitement he observed to the early progress of the Civil War:
Source: John Banks, A Short Biographical Sketch of the Undersigned by Himself (privately printed by Elberta Leonard, Austell, Ga., 1936), p. 23.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
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