Timeline: Progressive Era-World War II 1901-1945
For more on Melvyn Douglas, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Actor Melvyn Douglas was born in Macon, Georgia. In his 60 year career he became one of only three actors to win an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony award.
The North Georgia Electric Company was incorporated to build a hydroelectric power plant on the Chattahoochee River near Gainesville, Georgia; this would be one of several companies that would later unite to form the Georgia Power Company.
The first car purchased in Georgia - a Locomobile - was bought in Atlanta.
Future University of Georgia football coach Harry Mehre was born in Huntington, Indiana.
For more on the 1902 Georgia flag, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
Georgia’s state flag was changed to show the state coat of arms.
Golfing great Bobby Jones was born in Atlanta.
Joseph M. Terrell was elected governor.
Former Georgia governor James Boynton died in Griffin, Georgia.
A monumemt to Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene was dedicated in Savannah; his remains were interred beneath it.
To view an obituary for Smith, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Future Pulitzer Prize winning (for Lamb in His Bosom) author Caroline Miller was born in Waycross, Georgia.
The first automodile dealership in Georgia opened in Atlanta.
Future Georgia governor Melvin Thompson was born in Millen, Georgia.
Noted educator William “Dean” Tate was born in Calhoun, Georgia; he would become legendary as dean of men at the University of Georgia.
A tornado hit Gainesville, GA and New Holland (a nearby mill village), killing 106 people.
An earthquake hit the Tybee Island/Savannah area; it could be felt for 10,000 square miles.
Former Georgia governor and Confederate general John B. Gordon died in Miami, Florida.
Future Georgia Secretary of State Ben Fortson was born in Tignall, Georgia. He was elected to both the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives before being appointed Secretary of State in 1946, a post he would hold for 32 years.
To view Longstreet’s gravestone, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Former Confederate general James Longstreet died in Gainesville, Georgia.
Opera tenor and actor James Melton was born in Moultrie, Georgia.
Georgian Tom Watson ran (unsuccessfully) for president as the candidate of the Populist Party; he would do so again (with a similar result) four years later.
For more on Sterling Holloway, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Actor and animated film voice Sterling Holloway was born in Cedartown, Georgia. He had many acting roles, but is most famous for providing the voice of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Future University of Georgia football coaching great James Wallace (Wally) Butts was born in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Eighteen year old Georgian Ty Cobb made his professional baseball debut with the Detroit Tigers; his career would culminate when he was among the first group inducted into the professional baseball Hall of Fame.
For more on the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Atlanta businessman Alonzo Herndon established the Atlanta Mutual Life Association, which later became the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, one of the first African-American owned businesses (and still a successful one) in the nation.
Atlanta University professor and civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois organized the Niagra Movement, the forerunner of the NAACP (founded four years later).
President Theodore Roosevelt visited Bulloch Hall in Roswell, Georgia, girlhood home of his mother Martha (Mittie) Bulloch Roosevelt. In this same year, his nephew - Franklin D. Roosevelt - married Eleanor Roosevelt in New York. Franklin Roosevelt would later adopt Warm Springs, Georgia as his “second home.”
For more on the Atlanta Race Riot, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
In September, a group of white Atlanta youths and men decided to go searching for blacks to beat up after hearing reports that blacks had been attempting assaults on white women. The group quickly turned into a mob, attacking blacks at random. The Atlanta Race Riot, as it came to be called, continued for two more days. Before it ended, official reports indicated that 25 blacks and 1 white were killed and many more wounded, but the actual casualty list was probably higher.
Former Confederate (and U.S.) general Joseph “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler, who had been born in Augusta, Georgia, died in New York.
Hoke Smith was elected governor of Georgia.
The Cyclopedia of Georgia was published.
Female pioneer aviator Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran may have been born in 1906, though her exact birth date and year are uncertain. Little is known of her early life, although she reportedly spent a considerable part of her youth in Georgia. She ultimately became the first woman to break the sound barrier.
The Georgia General Assembly passed, and Governor Hoke Smith signed, an act to amend Georgia’s constitution by imposing a literacy test (among other items) as a requirement for registering to vote; the measure was designed to help disfranchise black voters. The amendment was approved by the voters the following year.
To view Epps’ first plane, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Ben Epps of Athens, Georgia made the first airplane flight in Georgia.
Future civil rights activist and politician Grace Towns Hamilton was born in Atlanta; she would become the first African-American woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly.
Future Georgia governor Ellis Arnall was born in Newnan, Georgia.
Former Georgia governor Rufus Bullock died in New York.
Future Georgia governor Marvin Griffin was born in Bainbridge, Georgia.
An amendment to Georgia’s constitution, designed to disfranchise blacks, passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor the previous year, was approved by Georgia voters.
Folk artist Mattie Lou O’Kelley was born in Maysville, Georgia.
Musician Thomas Greene “Blind Tom” Bethune (Wiggins) died in New Jersey.
For more on Eliza Frances Andrews, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Joseph Mackey Brown was elected governor of Georgia.
Tom Watson, as he had done four years earlier, ran unsuccessfully for president as the Populist Party candidate.
Future U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk was born in Cherokee County.
Artist Lamar Dodd was born in Fairburn, Georgia.
For more on Johnny Mercer, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Songwriter Johnny Mercer was born in Savannah.
Arising from the Niagara Movement (see 1905), W.E.B. Du Bois and other influential African-Americans founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The organization was incorporated the following year.
Hoke Smith was again elected governor of Georgia.
African American track star and politician Ralph Metcalfe was born in Atlanta. He would hold the world record in the 100 and 200 yard dash, and win gold, silver, and bronze medals in Olympic competition. He later served in Congress as a U.S. representative from Illinois, where he helped create the Congressional Black Caucus.
Hugh Dorsey was appointed solicitor-general, or chief prosecuting attorney, of the Fulton County Superior Court. This would become a very significant position three years later.
For more on Rucker’s appointment, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Former Georgia governor Allen Candler died in Atlanta.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was incorporated; it had been founded the previous year.
For more on Ivan Allen, Jr., see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Future Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. was born. He progressively led Atlanta through some of the most turbulent times of the civil rights era, for which he was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize in 1981.
Actress Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen was born in Tampa, Florida; she lived part of her youth in Augusta, Georgia (and would die there in 1995). She is best known for her role as Prissy in the movie version of Gone with the Wind.
Negro League baseball great, and later Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Josh Gibson was born in Buena Vista, Georgia.
John Slaton, who as President of the Georgia Senate had assumed the office of governor the previous year when the incumbent was elected to the U.S. Senate, was elected governor in his own right this year.
To view the original Girl Scout Handbook, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Five people with ties to Georgia - Archibald Butt (Augusta native and military aide to President William Howard Taft), Isidor Straus and his wife Rosalie, and Jacques Futrellee and his wife May - were aboard the fateful maiden voyage of the Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank on April 14. All but Mrs. May Futrellee perished in the tragedy.
Iris Faircloth Blitch was born in Vidalia Georgia. She became the first Georgia woman to win a regularly scheduled election and to serve a full term in the U.S. Congress.
Religious leader Clarence Jordan was born in Talbotton, Georgia. He and his followers founded Koinonia Farm near Americus, Georgia; he published a Cotton Patch Gospel (a common man’s guide to the New Testament), and his efforts to improve housing for the area poor led the formation of Habitat for Humanity.
Former Georgia governor Joseph M. Terrell died in Atlanta.
Railroad workers unearthed six skeletons discovered in shallow graves near the site of Nancy Hart‘s cabin. While this could not provide conclusive proof, it did give more credence to her story of she and her family killing six Tories during the Revolutionary War. (See 1780)
To view an image of Mary Phagan, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
One of the most infamous episodes in Georgia history began this year. On April 26 Mary Phagan, a young girl who worked at the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta, went there to collect her wages, also intending to see the Confederate Memorial Day parade. She did collect her wages, but never made it to the parade; sometime that afternoon she was murdered and her body was left in the basement of the factory. The crime outraged the public, and the police were under intense pressure to make an arrest.
For a detailed account of the Leo Frank case, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
Within days the superintendent of the factory, Leo Frank, was arrested - based on very questionable evidence - on suspicion of being involved with the killing. Despite considerable, and compelling, evidence that someone else had committed the crime, the police and chief prosecutor - Hugh Dorsey - indicted Frank alone. In an emotionally charged trial, surrounded by strong hints of anti-Semitism (Frank was Jewish), and with lurid testimony from the prosecution’s main witness (Jim Conley, a sweeper at the factory and the other suspect in the murder), Leo Frank was found guilty and sentenced to hang. His attorneys immediately appealed the decision, a process that would go on through 1914 and into 1915. Many years later an office boy who was working at the factory that day testified that he had seen Conley carrying Phagan’s body, but was threatened and frightened into silence. He passed a lie detector test administered during his story.
John Slaton, who had been elected governor the previous year, was officially inaugurated.
Future Georgia governor and U.S. senator Herman Talmadge was born in Telfair County.
Future major league baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Mize was born in Demorest, Georgia.
A tornado struck Waycross, Georgia, destroying nine buildings, including three churches, but fortunately no one was killed.
The Georgia Supreme Court turned down both Leo Frank‘s motion for a new trial, and all of his appeals.
Nathaniel Harris was elected governor, but would not be inaugurated until the following year - and his inauguration would be under tumultuous conditions (see 1915).
For more on Carl Vinson, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
Carl Vinson was elected as a U.S. Representative, beginning a career in Congress that would span over 50 years.
Georgia born William G. McAdoo, then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, founded the Federal Reserve Board and served as its first chairman.
Author and Atlanta Constitution columnist Celestine Sibley was born in Florida.
Actor and long-time television host of the “Miss America” pageant Bert Parks was born as Bert Jacobson in Atlanta.
Mary Lyndon became the first woman to graduate from the University of Georgia.
For a detailed account of the Leo Frank case, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
On the day before his gubernatorial term ended, Georgia governor John Slaton commuted the death sentence of Leo Frank to life imprisonment, and had him moved from the Fulton County jail to the state prison in Milledgeville. Slaton knew the decision would be unpopular, so he and his wife immediately left the state; Nathaniel Harris was inaugurated as the next governor amidst turmoil. The populace was in an uproar over the decision, though Slaton had carefully reviewed all the paperwork and evidence, and was convinced of Frank’s innocence. Tom Watson wrote scathing editorials about the commutation, calling on the people of Georgia to rise up and demand retribution.
WARNING! GRAPHIC IMAGE!
To view an image from the Leo Frank lynching, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
One group did - in August a group of men from Marietta (Mary Phagan’s birthplace) secretly traveled to Milledgeville, cut the power lines, entered the prison, and took Leo Frank. They returned to Marietta by back roads, and early the next morning Leo Frank was lynched outside Marietta.
The first public transcontinental telephone call was placed from Jekyll Island. AT&T president Theodore Vail called President Woodrow Wilson in Washington, Alexander Graham Bell in New York, and Bell’s assistant in San Francisco.
A Ford Model T factory was built in Atlanta.
Future Georgia governor Lester Maddox was born in Atlanta.
The Girl Scouts of America was officially incorporated.
To view an image on the Dixie Highway, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Governor Nathaniel Harris and other officials welcomed a group of tourists participating in a Dixie Highway motorcade. The purpose of their visit was to promote completion of the new Dixie Highway, which when completed would allow motorists to drive from Chicago to Miami on good roads.
A major fire destroyed 32 city blocks in downtown Augusta, causing over $6 million in losses. Included in the 118 burned acres were 600 homes and six blocks of businesses, with some three thousand people left homeless. There were numerous injuries, but no fatalities as a result of the fire.
For more on the Cherokee Rose, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
The General Assembly adopted a resolution naming the Cherokee Rose as the official “floral emblem” of Georgia.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy were given a deed to the face of Stone Mountain for the purpose of carving a monument to the Confederacy.
Trumpet player and band leader Harry James was born in Albany, Georgia.
African-American author Frank Yerby was born in Augusta, Georgia.
Native Georgian and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph R. Lamar died in Washington, D.C.
The county unit system, a special formula for determining the winner of statewide races in political party primaries, was created. Primary races for statewide office would not be determined by popular vote, but rather on a county-by-county basis. The winner of a particular race got all of a county’s “unit” votes - based on the number of legislators a county had in the state House of Representatives. At the time, the eight most populated counties had six representatives. The thirty next largest counties had four representatives. The remaining 121 counties had two representatives. The county system was designed to keep political power from shifting from rural areas to growing urban centers, particularly Atlanta.
For more on Carson McCullers, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Author Carson McCullers was born in Columbus, Georgia.
Poet and novelist Byron Herbert Reece was born near Blairsville, Georgia.
Actor, director, and screen writer Ossie Davis was born in Cogdell, Georgia.
Stella Akin became the first woman admitted to the Georgia bar.
Four separate fires broke out in Atlanta in one day, burning 1938 buildings.
The most deadly epidemic to ever strike the United States occurred this year. A strain of influenza that came to be called the Spanish Flu eventually killed 675,000 Americans and some 25 million worldwide. The worst month was October, when over 200,000 Americans died, and the epidemic hit Georgia that same month. While the epidemic did not affect Georgia as severely as some other states, there were still numerous cases, with over 800 deaths. The epidemic caused the closing of many schools during October and part of November, while those who went outside often wore masks.
Hugh Dorsey was re-elected governor of Georgia.
When word came that an armistice had been signed ending World War I, Governor Hugh Dorsey closed all state offices and declared the day a state holiday. Parades and other celebrations were held throughout the state.
Future Georgia governor Ernest Vandiver, Jr. was born in Franklin County.
Future U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell was born in Americus, Georgia.
Actor Claude Akins was born in Nelson, Georgia.
For more on Jackie Robinson, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Baseball Hall of Fame player Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia; he became the first African-American to play professional baseball.
Ben Epps established Georgia’s first airport in Clarke County.
The Georgia General Assembly rejected the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. But enough states did ratify it that it became law the following year. Georgia did not officially ratify the amendment until 1970, but with it being ratified nationally, women were allowed to vote after 1920.
For more on Tom Watson, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Tom Watson, who had twice run unsuccessfully for President on the Populist party ticket, finally won an election to the U.S. Senate from Georgia, while Thomas Hardwick was elected governor of Georgia.
Actor DeForest Kelley, best known for his role as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on Star Trek, was born in Atlanta.
Musician and humorist Kenneth Burns was born in north Georgia; he played the Jethro role in the famous comic duo Homer and Jethro.
Future University of Georgia football great, and Heisman Trophy winner, Frank Sinkwich was born in Pennsylvania.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio; his attempts to recover from the debilitating effects of the disease would lead him to Warm Springs, Georgia in 1924.
Thomas Hardwick, elected the previous year, was officially inaugurated as Georgia governor.
The University of Georgia College of Journalism was named in honor of Henry Grady.
Famous tenor and Georgia native Roland Hayes performed for the king and queen of Great Britain.
Native Georgian Ty Cobb got his 3000th career hit, becoming the youngest professional baseball player to reach that milestone.
For more on Truett Cathy, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Future heavyweight boxing champion Ezzard Charles was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Georgia women’s suffrage pioneer Mary Latimer McLendon died.
For more on Rebecca Latimer Felton, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
U.S. Senator Tom Watson died in office. A special election was held to replace him, won by Walter George. But before George took office, then Georgia governor Thomas Hardwick appointed Rebecca Latimer Felton to temporarily fill the seat vacated by Watson. She attended two days of Senate sessions, thus becoming the first woman to serve in the United States Senate.
The Atlanta Journal began operation of the first commercial radio station in the South under the call letters WSB. The very next day the Atlanta Constitution launched its new WGST radio station. WSB soon provided the first live broadcast of country music performed by Fiddlin’ John Carson.
The Lincoln Memorial, carved from Georgia marble, was dedicated in Washington, D.C.
For more on Fiddlin’ John Carson, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
The first country music record was recorded - Fiddlin’ John Carson playing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane.”
Bobby Jones won his first major golf tournament, the U.S. Open.
Women’s golfing great Louise Suggs was born in Atlanta.
Carving began on the Stone Mountain memorial to the Confederacy.
Charles Lindbergh, in a plane called the “Lone Eagle,” trained for his solo barnstorming career in Americus, Georgia.
Noted poet and author James Dickey was born in Atlanta.
Future Georgia governor and United States President Jimmy Carter was born in Plains, Georgia.
For more on FDR’s Ties to Georgia, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived for his first visit in Warm Springs, Georgia. He was searching for a cure for the paralysis left after a polio attack three years earlier. While he never found a cure, he did find what he would come to regard as his “second home,” and ultimately established a haven for rehabilitating polio (and from other diseases or injuries) patients in Warm Springs. His experiences with his neighbors there and in the surrounding (very attractive, but also very poor) countryside helped formulate many of his New Deal ideas a decade later.
Delta Air Lines began operations in Macon, Georgia as a crop dusting company.
Politician Tom Murphy was born in Bremen, Georgia. He would eventually hold the office of Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives for 28 years, the longest tenure of any such state office in the country.
Future comedian Nipsey Russell was born in Atlanta.
Atlanta leased Candler Field racetrack to use as the city’s first airport.
For more on Flannery O’Connor, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Writer Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah.
Future Georgia governor Carl Sanders was born in Augusta, Georgia.
Famous opera soprano Mattiwilda Dobbs was born in Atlanta.
Women’s suffrage activist Jeannete Rankin moved to Georgia, where she created the Georgia Peace Society and lived the rest of her life.
Civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy was born in Alabama.
Civil rights and homeless advocate Hosea Williams was born in Attapulgus, Georgia.
Lamaratine Hardman was elected governor of Georgia.
Comedian Junior Samples was born in Cumming, Georgia.
For more on “Tiger” Flowers, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Camilla, Georgia native Theodore “Tiger” Flowers won a 15-round decision in New York, becoming the first African-American world middleweight boxing champion.
Future Georgia governor George Busbee was born in Vienna, Georgia.
African-American entrepreneur Alonzo Herndon died in Atlanta.
Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, died in Savannah.
Georgian Ty Cobb got his 4000th hit, a Major League baseball record.
The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge was created.
To view Lindbergh’s plane, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
“Lindbergh Day” was held in Atlanta. Charles Lindbergh flew the “Spirit of St. Louis” over the city, then landed and left for downtown Atlanta, where a parade was held. Lindbergh addressed 20,000 spirited onlookers and traveled to the Biltmore Hotel for ceremonies with the governor of Georgia and Atlanta’s mayor. Lindbergh had earlier bought a plane and trained for his solo career in Americus, Georgia. (see 1923)
Educator and author Mildred Lewis Rutherford died in Athens, Georgia.
For more on Ty Cobb, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Ty Cobb retired from playing professional baseball. Eight years later he was the first player inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Sportscaster Keith Jackson was born near Carrollton, Georgia.
The first commercial airway service to Georgia began with flights between Atlanta and New York.
To view an image of King’s birthplace, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta.
U.S. Highway 41 was completely paved, meaning drivers could travel from Georgia’s northern border to its southern border on paved roads.
Former Georgia Governor Nathaniel Harris died in Macon, Georgia.
To view an early image of Sanford Stadium, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
The University of Georgia formally dedicated Sanford Stadium and hosted their first game in the new facility, where the team upset heavily favored Yale.
October 29, 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, is one of the more infamous days in American history. The stock market collapsed, with some sixteen million shares being sold off (an average day’s trading at the time was 3 million). This was the turning point which ushered in the Great Depression. The Great Depression, and incumbent President Herbert Hoover‘s response to it, were factors which helped motivate Franklin D. Roosevelt to oppose him three years later.
The country, and Georgia with it, began to sink deeper into the Great Depression following the stock market crash of the previous year.
Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected governor of Georgia.
Candler Field, leased by Atlanta as an airport since 1925, was purchased outright this year and soon became the nation’s third busiest airport - averaging sixteen flights per day. Eastern Air Lines began passenger service between Atlanta and New York.
Savannah born poet and writer Conrad Aiken won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his Selected Poems.
To view an image of Bobby Jones in 1930, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Georgian Bobby Jones won what was then the “grand slam of golf” - the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open, British Amateur, and British Open.
Rebecca Latimer Felton, who had been the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, died in Atlanta.
Future famous actress Joanne Woodward was born in Thomasville, Georgia.
Future famous actor Pernell Roberts was born in Waycross, Georgia.
Future famous painter and sculptor Jasper Johns was born in Augusta Georgia.
The Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge was created.
The song “Georgia on My Mind” was copyrighted; it was not yet Georgia’s official state song. Ironically, the man who would make the song famous - Ray Charles - was born this year in Albany, Georgia.
The Great Depression continued to deepen in Georgia and across the country.
Former Georgia governor Hoke Smith died in Atlanta.
Diarist, writer, and teacher Eliza Frances Andrews died in Rome, Georgia.
Artist Lucy May Stanton died in Athens, Georgia.
Future baseball Hall of Fame player and Atlanta Brave Eddie Mathews was born in Texas.
To view an image of FDR campaigning in Atlanta, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
The Great Depression continued to worsen, and many Americans did not feel the country’s leadership was responding adequately to the crisis. But that leadership would soon change; he had contemplated it for much of 1931, but finally on January 23, 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that he would run for President. He still visited Georgia three times during the year (May, October, November), giving the commencement address at Oglethorpe University in May, making a campaign stop in October, and taking a relaxing visit after the election. FDR was elected president in a landslide over Herbert Hoover in November. At the same time Richard B. Russell, Jr. was elected to the U.S. Senate and Eugene Talmadge was elected governor of Georgia. Russell would be a staunch supporter of Roosevelt, while Talmadge would oppose most of his New Deal programs.
While Roosevelt was busy campaigning, work was completed on a new cottage he had built at Warm Springs - this is the cottage that came to be called the “Little White House.”
Future Georgia governor and U.S. Senator Zell Miller was born in Young Harris, Georgia.
Civil rights leader, politician, and diplomat Andrew Young was born in Louisiana.
Future University of Georgia football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley was born in Alabama.
Strongman and Christian witness Paul Anderson was born in Toccoa, Georgia.
Musician Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard, was born in Macon, Georgia.
Naturalist and co-star of the “Wild Kingdom” TV series Jim Fowler was born in Albany, Georgia.
Former Georgia governor Joseph Mackey Brown died in Marietta, Georgia.
For more on the Great Depression, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
While the Great Depression continued throughout the 1930s, not fully ending until the country’s entrance into World War II in the early 1940s, 1933 is generally considered to be the darkest year of the Great Depression. Unemployment was at an all time high and morale at an all time low, as Franklin D. Roosevelt took office, but he would soon give people hope with his New Deal programs and his words of encouragement. Despite his monumental duties as President, FDR still managed to visit Warm Springs twice in 1933.
Georgia tried many things to try and deal with the conditions created by the Great Depression, from cutting back drastically on spending, to advocating a sales tax - a new idea for that time. Governor Eugene Talmadge even declared martial law over the state highway department at one point in the crisis. U.S. Senator from Georgia Walter George was hospitalized with exhaustion after a lengthy legislative session trying to deal with the nation’s economic woes.
While the country, and Georgia with it, suffered through the Great Depression, this was also a year to celebrate in Georgia, as it was the bicentennial of the founding of Georgia by James Oglethorpe and the original group of colonists.
Eugene Talmadge was inaugurated for his first term as Georgia governor.
Georgian Caroline Miller published Lamb in His Bosom, for which she would win a Pulitzer Prize the following year.
Musician James Brown was born in South Carolina; he grew up in Augusta, Georgia.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent almost a month in November and December at Warm Springs.
Eugene Talmadge was re-elected as Georgia governor.
To see photos from the Ocmulgee National Monument, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
The Ocmulgee National Monument was created.
Caroline Miller won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for Lamb in His Bosom.
Baseball home run champion and future Atlanta Brave Hank Aaron was born in Alabama.
Cecil Burke Day, founder of the Days Inn motel chain, was born in Brooklet, Georgia.
The first Masters Golf Tournament was held in Augusta, Georgia.
Work began on Techwood and University Homes in Atlanta, the nation’s first public housing project.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating the Rural Electrification Administration, an action prompted by Roosevelt’s frequent visits to Warm Springs, Georgia. On his drives through the countryside, Roosevelt saw that many in rural Georgia did not have electricity. He did have electricity at his residence, but his rate was almost four times what he paid back at Hyde Park, New York. As a result, Roosevelt later noted, “So it can be said that a little cottage at Warm Springs, Georgia, was the birthplace of the Rural Electrification Administration.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Warm Springs just once this year, his annual Thanksgiving visit, where he spent a little over two weeks at his “second home.”
For more on the Techwood Homes dedication, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
The nation’s first public housing project, Techwood Homes, was dedicated in Atlanta, with President Roosevelt in attendance.
Governor Eugene Talmadge issued an executive proclamation naming the brown thrasher as the state bird of Georgia. But legally this could only be done by the legislature, which they did finally in 1970.
Writer Harry Crews was born in Bacon County, Georgia.
Author Corra Harris died in Atlanta.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected overwhelmingly.
A tornado in Cordele, Georgia killed 23 people and destroyed 289 buildings, then four days later an even more destructive one hit Gainesville, Georgia, destroying the Cooper Pants Manufacturing Company and killing 125 workers. Altogether, 187 people died and more than 2000 were left homeless by this devastating event. On his lone visit to Georgia for the year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt viewed the destruction and promised federal help in the recovery.
Margaret Mitchell‘s epic novel Gone With the Wind was published. Over 200,000 copies sold in the first month alone, and exactly one month after publication David O. Selznick paid Mitchell $50,000 for the motion picture rights to her novel.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt had created the Rural Electrification Administration by executive order the previous year, this year Congres passed and Roosevelt signed the Rural Electification Act.
Showing the Great Depression was far from over, the city of Atlanta, deeply in debt and facing bankruptcy, started paying city employees with script instead of cash or checks.
Eurith Dickinson (E.D.) Rivers was elected governor of Georgia.
To view a Ty Cobb baseball card, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Ty Cobb became one of the first five inductees into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame; he received more votes than any other player.
Georgia born Ralph Metcalfe won a gold and silver medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
Future Georgia governor Joe Frank Harris was born in Cartersville, Georgia.
Actor Burt Reynolds was born in Waycross, Georgia.
Future pro football Hall of Famer Jim Brown was born on St. Simons Island, Georgia.
For more on the live oak, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
The live oak was designated as Georgia’s state tree.
Georgia author Erskine Caldwell and his wife at the time, photographer Margaret Bourke-White, published You Have Seen Their Faces, a photographic essay of poor, white, rural Southerners during the Great Depression.
The University of Georgia purchased the DeRenne collection, a wealth of information on the history of Georgia comprised of books, pamphlets, newspapers, and maps.
Country music song writer and singer Bill Anderson was born in South Carolina, but he lived most of his life in Georgia.
Musician and actor Jerry Reed was born in Atlanta.
Musician Dave Prater, Jr. was born in Ocilla, Georgia; he was half of the popular duo Sam and Dave.
Former Georgia governor Lamartine Hardman died in Atlanta.
Aviation pioneer Ben Epps died.
African American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner died; he had taught in Atlanta.
To view an image of FDR speaking in Barnesville, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Georgia three times this year, but not only to Warm Springs. He spoke at the commencement of both the University of Georgia and Gordon College, and spoke at the dedication of the new courthouse square in Gainesville (the previous square had been destroyed by a tornado in 1936). He had become involved in the Georgia Senate campaign, and was supporting a candidate opposing incumbent Walter George, who had opposed several of Roosevelt’s more recent New Deal programs. George won the election, however. FDR also made his annual Thanksgiving trip to Warm Springs.
A fire at Atlanta’s Terminal Hotel killed 34 people.
Future Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson was born in Texas.
Future United States Senator Sam Nunn was born in Perry, Georgia.
Advertising and cable television pioneer Ted Turner was born in Ohio.
To view an image from the Gone from the Wind premiere, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
The world premiere of the movie version of Gone with the Wind was held in Atlanta at the Loew’s Grand Theater.
The Georgian’s Creed was officially adopted.
Wallace “Wally” Butts became the head football coach at the University of Georgia.
Musician Ray Ragsdale, better known as Ray Stevens, was born in Clarkdale, Georgia.
Future Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro was born in Ohio.
Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, known as the “Mother of the Blues,” died in Rome, Georgia.
Of worldwide significance, World War II officially began this year in Europe.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected president, at the time there was no constitutional prohibition against a president serving more than two terms. He visited Warm Springs twice this year - in April and December.
For more on Eugene Talmadge, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Eugene Talmadge was again elected governor of Georgia.
The movie version of Gone With The Wind won eight Oscars, including Best Picture of the Year. Hattie McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Mammy” in the film, becoming the first African American in history to win an Oscar.
Florence Gibbs won a special election to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first Georgia woman to be elected to Congress. The election was to fill out the unexpired term of her husband, who had died, and hers was the only name on the ballot.She served for only three months., declining to run for re-election.
Henry Ossian Flipper, born in Thomasville, Georgia and the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy, died.
The United States entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7. In his famous “Day of Infamy” speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for a declaration of war, and it was followed soon by similar measures against Germany and Italy. Roosevelt had been in Warm Springs (for one day only) the week before the Japanese attack, but had to cut the visit short as the possibility of war loomed large. Because of the war, Roosevelt would not return to Warm Springs until 1943.
In reaction to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, all Japanese nationals living in Georgia were ordered to stay in their homes. In Atlanta, guards were doubled at the municipal waterworks and defense manufacturing plants. Georgia’s congressional delegation also had strong reactions. U.S. Senator Walter F. George stated: “Japan’s deed is an act of desperation by a war-mad people. The attack on Hawaii is a deliberate act of the Japanese government. I am utterly amazed. It is unthinkable. . . . An open declaration of war will give us greater freedom of action.” U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell responded to the attack by stating: “Japan has committed national hari-kari. I cannot conceive of any member of Congress voting against a declaration of war in view of the unpardonable, unprovoked attack on us. I am utterly astounded.” U.S. Representative Carl Vinson, chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee, added: “Of course we will have to declare war. There is nothing else for Congress to do. This is a concerted action by the Axis Powers, but I am confident our Navy is ready and will render a glorious account of itself. It probably means we will be drawn into the world conflict on both oceans.”
For more on the Cocking Affair, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Ten Georgia colleges, including the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, lost their accreditation because of political interference from Governor Eugene Talmadge. Talmadge wanted the Board of Regents to fire two University professors who advocated integrating public schools, when the Board refused Talmadge dismissed and replaced all of them. The main target for Talmadge was Walter Cocking, Dean of the College of Education at UGA. Thus, this episode is oftern referred to as the Cocking affair. It caused a storm of controversy, and helped lead to Talmadge losing the gubernatorial race the following year.
A Georgia constitutional amendment was proposed and ratified, changing the term of the governor from two to four years.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in Houston County for an Army Air Corps Depot. This was the beginning of Robins Air Force Base.
To view an image of a Delta airplane in Atlanta in 1941, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Delta Air Lines moved its headquarters to Atlanta.
Georgia born actor Charles Coburn won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Devil and Miss Jones.
Future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Otis Redding was born in Dawson, Georgia.
Future Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox was born in Oklahoma.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was unable to visit Warm Springs in 1942, the only year between 1924 (his first visit) and 1945 (his last) that he didn’t visit his “second home” at least once.
World War II hostilities came to Georgia when a German submarine sank a ship and oil tanker in a torpedo attack off St. Simons Island. A total of 22 merchant seamen were killed in the attack. Another aspect of the war touched civilians, as gasoline rationing went into effect in Georgia and the rest of the nation.
Rachel Pruden Herndon became the first African American female attorney in Georgia history.
To view an image of Sinkwich, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
University of Georgia running back Frank Sinkwich won the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to college football’s most outstanding player.
Future journalist Charlayne Hunter was born in South Carolina; she was also one of the first two African-Amercans to attend the University of Georgia.
Musician Billy Joe Royal was born in Valdosta, Georgia.
Musician Tommy Roe was born in Atlanta.
Musician Curtis Mayfield, who would live in Atlanta, was born in Illinois.
Noted Georgia educator Martha Berry, founder of the Berry Schools and for whom Berry College is named, died in Atlanta.
For more on Ellis Arnall, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Governor Ellis Arnall signed a joint resolution approving a constitutional amendment creating the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia as a constitutional board. The amendment was part of a series of constitutional changes designed to reduce the powers of the governor, specifically in the area of education, in reaction to the Cocking affair (see 1941) and the actions of previous governor Eugene Talmadge. This amendment vested the board with authority for the “government, control, and management of the University System” - which essentially removed state colleges and universities from the direct control of the General Assembly or the governor.
A commission was formed to revise Georgia’s Constitution; the current one had been in effect since 1877.
Future Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich was born in Pennsylvania.
Musician Richard “Dickey” Betts was born in Florida.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected president for his fourth consecutive term. Soon after the election he visited Warm Springs; he was in failing health, though he had not shown it in the campaign. He spent three weeks at Warm Spring, resting and recuperating to lead the final drive to end World War II.
For more on Lillian Smith and Strange Fruit, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Atlanta artist Harry Rossoll, working for the U.S. Forest Service on a 1944 promotion to prevent forest fires, developed the idea and drew the image of Smokey Bear.
Georgia born trumpet great Harry James and his band reached the top of the music charts with “I’ll Get By.”
Georgia born doctor Alfred Blalock performed the world’s first blue baby operation; this operation was a forerunner of modern heart surgery.
Forty-seven railroad workers died in a train derailment in Stockton, Georgia.
Musician Gladys Knight was born in Atlanta.
Author Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia.
Musician Brenda Mae Tarpley, better known as Brenda Lee, was born in Atlanta.
Astronaut David Walker was born in Columbus, Georgia.
Former Georgia governor Thomas Hardwick died in Sandersville, Georgia.
To view FDR’s funeral procession in Warm Springss, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
For a detailed account of FDR’s last days in Georgia, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Warm Springs in April of 1945, as the great push to end the war in Europe was beginning. But while in Warm Springs, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died there in his beloved little cottage in what he always called his “second home.” See these related articles from GeorgiaInfo on his final visit to Georgia and what happened afterward.
The war effort continued however, with Germany surrendering to Allied forces within weeks of Roosevelts of death, and Japan doing the same in August. World War II was finally over.
For more on the 1945 Constitution, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.
Georgia voters ratified the new Georgia Constitution of 1945.
The Georgia Ports Authority was created; its mission was (and is) to develop, maintain and operate ocean and inland river ports within Georgia.
Future Olympic gold medalist Wyomia Tyus was born in Griffin,Georgia.
Famous opera soprano Jessye Norman was born in Augusta, Georgia.
Future pro basketball Hall of Famer Walt Frazier was born in Atlanta.
Writer Pat Conroy was born in Atlanta.
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