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This Day in Georgia History

November 24, 1997

Ellis Arnall Statue Dedicated

Dedication ceremonies were held on the grounds of Georgia’s state capitol for a bronze statue of former governor Ellis Arnall. After Georgia state colleges and universities lost their accreditation in 1941 because of interference by Gov. Eugene Talmadge, Arnall - then state attorney general - successfully challenged Talmadge in the governor’s race of 1942. Born in Newnan on Mar. 20, 1907, Arnall is remembered for a progressive and reform-minded administration. He successfully pushed for constitutional amendments or legislation to reduce the powers of the governor (e.g., taking away the governor’s power to grant pardons and paroles, removing the governor from public and higher education boards, and taking away the governor’s power to veto proposed constitutional amendments). Arnall also pushed for prison reform and the elimination of chain gangs. With his strong support, Georgia became the first state to allow 18-year-olds to vote in 1943. In 1943-44, Arnall chaired the commission set up to draft new Georgia’s Constitution of 1945. The next year, he pushed the legislature into dropping the poll tax (the fourth southern state to do so). Arnall was also nationally known for his success in getting the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw railroad freight rates that discriminated against the South. He died in 1992.

Ellis Arnall Statue Dedicated View large image
Source: Photo: Ed Jackson