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This Day in Georgia History

August 15, 1999

Celestine Sibley Died

To view an image of Celestine Sibley, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Well-known newspaper columnist and writer Celestine Sibley died on Dog Island, Florida. She was born Celestine Broxson Colley on May 23, 1914, in Holley, Florida. Her parents didn’t get along well, and 7-year-old Celestine took a new last name when her mother married Reeder Sibley, an Alabama lumberman. Celestine grew up near Mobile, Alabama, where she became editor of the county high school’s newspaper. At age 15, she became a weekend writer for the Mobile Press-Register. After attending college in Mobile, she worked as a full-time reporter for the Mobile newspaper from 1933-1936. In 1936, Sibley accepted a position with the Pensacola News-Journal, where she worked five years. She married Jim Little, a newspaper copy editor, and in 1941 they moved to Atlanta. She became a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution, while her husband took a job with the Associated Press. Little, an alcoholic, had difficulty keeping a job, and died at age 45. Sibley, however, did well with her writing, and her first personal column appeared in the Constitution on July 24, 1944. She went on to spend the rest of her professional life with the Constitution, where won a Christopher award for a column on how her daughter’s prayers changed a charged atmosphere at an Atlanta lunch counter . In 1956 she was named Woman of the Year by the Piedmont Driving Club. She covered the Georgia legislature for twenty years, while also reporting on Lyndon Johnson’s vice-presidential campaign, the trial of Arthur Bremer (who shot Alabama Gov. George Wallace during his presidential campaign), and the successful presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter. Between 1958 and 1978, Sibley covered Georgia politics and sessions of the General Assembly. Though battling cancer, she continued writing columns for the Constitution and earning numerous awards through July 1999. On August 6, 1999, the press gallery in the chamber of the Georgia House of Representatives was named in her honor.