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1730 A year after the Gaols [Jails] Committee had been appointed to investigate abuses in England's prisons, chairman James Oglethorpe launched a second round of investigations. In 1729, he and the committee had concentrated their attention to Fleet Prison, where Oglethorpe's friend Robert Castell had died from smallpox. This new round of investigations, which lasted through May, would focus on the king's prisons in Southwark and Marshalsea.
Oglethorpe's work on the Gaols Committee had two important consequences for Georgia. First, it exposed the plight of England's imprisoned debtors, leading him to consider the broader questions of the causes and solutions of poverty. Second, his humanitarian efforts were widely noted -- both in Parliament and in the press -- which would aid his efforts as a leader in the movement for a new colony in America to send England's worthy poor.
1787 Congress adopted a resolution calling for a convention to meet on the second Monday of May 1787 "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and Reporting to Congress and the several Legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when Agreed to in Congress and Confirmed by the States under the Federal Constitution be adequate to the Exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union." The conventionn was supposed to assemble at the Pennsylvania state house in Philadelphia on May 14, but it was May 25 before a quorum of delegates could convene.
1804 Georgia Surveyor General Daniel Sturges sent the following letter to surveyor Levin Wailes: "You are hereby appointed and authorised to run and mark a dividing line . . . between the counties of Wilkinson & Baldwin, which are formed within that part of the said Cession (referring to Creek land cession of 1803), lying South of the Oconee River, and to lay out the said Counties into Five districts each . . . ."
1856 Legislation was approved changing the name of Kinchafoonee County to Webster County.
Created in 1853, Kinchafoonee County had been named for the major creek that ran through the area. Apparently, outsiders found the Indian name awkward, so local residents asked the General Assembly to change the county's name to honor U.S. politician and orator Daniel Webster.
1940 Civil rights advocate and politician John Lewis was born in Troy, Alabama. Lewis was involved in the civil rights movement, participating in the 1961 freedom rides and the march on Washington in 1963. He helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was its president from 1963-1966. Lewis was among the the group of over 500 marchers who were attacked on a bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965, which helped lead to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. After moving to Georgia, Lewis stayed active in the Southern Regional Council's voter education drives. He also directed the Voter Education Project, which led to the registration of four million African-Americans. President Carter appointed Lewis to head the federal volunteer agency ACTION in 1977. Lewis' political career began in 1981, when he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. He served there until 1986, resigning to run for Congress. In November 1986, Lewis was elected to represent Georgia's 5th congressional district -- a position he still holds.
Currently, Lewis is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Democratic Steering Committee, the Congressional Urban Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Caucus on Anti-Semitism. He also serves as Chief Deputy Democratic Whip.
1956 Because of their role in the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King and a number of black leaders of the Montgomery Improvement Association were indicted for allegedly violating Alabama law by conspiring to hinder and prevent the operation of a business without "just or legal cause."
1958 Gov. Marvin Griffin signed legislation creating the Stone Mountain Memorial Association as a state authority empowered to borrow money and oversee construction and development of Stone Mountain and the adjacent property as a Confederate memorial and public recreational area.
1997 A bar frequented by homosexuals was bombed twice, one bomb going off after authorities arrived to investigate the earlier bombing. Though unknown at the time, these bombings, and others, were the work of Eric Rudolph, also guilty of the Centennial Olympic park bombing in 1996. Between 1996 and 1998, Rudolph was responsible for bombs in Atlanta and Birmingham that killed two and injured hundreds. By May 1998, he had made the 10 Most Wanted List of the FBI, which offered a reward up to $1,000,000 for his capture.
Rudolph, a survivalist, managed to elude authorities by hiding in the mountains, until captured May 31, 2003, in Murphy, North Carolina.
In 2005, Murphy and the U.S. Justice Department reached an agreement, where he would plead guilty if federal prosecutors would not pursue the death penalty. In July, he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without parole for the Birmingham bombing, and in August he received three more life sentences for the Atlanta bombings. He is serving his sentences at a maximum security federal prison in Colorado.
1998 Native Georgian Julian Bond was selected as Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved by the governor on Feb. 21:
1866 Steadman (Newton County)
1873 Cole City (Dade County)
1876 Wadley (Jefferson County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1733 Even though the colony of Georgia had been established less than a month, two escaped prisoners from South Carolina were already making it their hideaway, as recorded by Peter Gordon in his journal:
Source: [no author or editor cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 18-19.
1869 Gertrude Thomas recorded an illness and the frightening effects of the medicine given her:
Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), pp. 308-309.
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