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Author Rebecca Burns

  • Rebecca Burns

    Deputy Editor & Digital Strategist

    Rebecca Burns is an Atlanta-based journalist, editor, and author.

    She served as editor-in-chief of Atlanta magazine from 2002-2009 and later spent several years as director of digital strategy for Emmis Publishing, working with editors and publishers in company’s family of city and regional magazines—which includes Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Texas Monthly.

    In fall 2012 she returned to Atlanta magazine to serve as deputy editor and digital strategist. She writes and edits feature articles and oversees special projects such as the annual Groundbreakers awards. She launched and manages the Daily Agenda blog and edits the companion section in the print magazine.

    Burns, whose own writing and reporting focus on civil rights and social and economic justice, is the author of three books. The latest, Burial for a King (Scribner, 2011), is account of the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Her next book—The Second Burning of Atlanta—will chronicle the Great Fire of 1917.

    Burns teaches journalism at Emory University and the University of Georgia and is a frequent speaker at colleges, schools, and civic organizations.


Behold the sprawl of 2060, when Atlanta and Charlotte finally converge

Researchers predict the formation of a mega region. Welcome to Char-lanta, y'all.

Here’s my new favorite fact about our sprawl: the 28-county region that the U.S. Census bureau considers to be metro Atlanta has a bigger land area than the entire state of Massachusetts (8,376 square miles vs. 7,800). Read More

David Perdue won the GOP runoff and plenty of people were surprised

Recapping election night predictions, commentary, and spin.

As polls were closing in Georgia yesterday, "everyone" was predicting that Jack Kingston, the longtime congressman, would edge out David Perdue, cousin of Sonny and former Dollar General CEO. Which goes to show, that the conventional wisdom only goes so far. A social media recap of one of the most suspense—and surprising—midterm runoff election results in recent memory: Read More

Atlanta Must Reads for the Week: APS cheating fallout, pit bulls, and a black widow

Plus, misappropriated street art, a foul-ball suit against the Braves, and the mayor's Twitter blocks.

Hall belonged to a movement of reformers who believed that the values of the marketplace could resuscitate public education. She approached the job like a business executive: she courted philanthropists, set accountability measures, and created performance objectives that were more rigorous than those required by No Child Left Behind, which became law in 2002. When a school met its targets, all employees, including bus drivers and cafeteria staff, received up to two thousand dollars. She linked teacher evaluations to test scores and warned principals that they’d be fired if they didn’t meet targets within three years. Eventually, ninety per cent were replaced. She repeated the mantra “No exceptions and no excuses.” Read More

Atlanta's Civil War battle scars

The city was burned to the ground 150 years ago. Could it be the best thing that ever happened to us?

For eight hours on the blazing day of July 22, 1864, 74,000 young men fought on the rolling terrain of southeast Atlanta. As the cannon smoke cleared and each side retreated, the four-mile-long field of combat held the bodies of more than 12,000 dead or wounded soldiers. The Battle of Atlanta was by no means the biggest or bloodiest of the Civil War, but it played a crucial role in bringing the conflict to an end. Read More

Atlanta Civil War Timeline

The city's tumultuous history, July-December, 1864

At the Civil War’s outset, few could have predicted that Atlanta would play such a pivotal part in the conflict’s outcome. A small town when the war began, Atlanta grew in importance thanks to its factories and railroad hub, doubling in population by 1864. But even as General William T. Sherman moved into Georgia that spring, his objective wasn’t the town near the train tracks, but rather the tracks themselves—and the vital supplies they carried to the Confederacy. All spring, Sherman pursued the Rebel army through the hills of Tennessee and North Georgia. In late June, Union forces faced off against General Joseph Johnston at Kennesaw Mountain, a bloody skirmish that left Sherman scrambling for new tactics. As both armies maneuvered toward Atlanta, some long-timers fled, but were replaced by newcomers—refugees from rural areas where subsistence turned to starvation. As Union spy J.C. Moore reported in early July, the city was in turmoil. Read More