History - Atlanta Magazine
 
 
Articles on Atlanta History

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.

 

Launching Forward Atlanta (again)

Civic leaders dig up a decades-old slogan

Why mess, as they say, with success? That’s the apparent philosophy of civic boosters, who will reincarnate the Forward Atlanta marketing campaign the Chamber of Commerce first debuted in the 1920s. Read More

Bittersweet Auburn

The landmark district is named endangered—again

For the second time in twenty years, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has put the Sweet Auburn district—once Atlanta’s center of African American business and culture—on its “endangered” list. Read More

Birth of Martha Lumpkin, Atlanta's namesake

August 25, 1827

Atlanta wasn’t really planned. It just kind of ... happened. Our streets follow the lines of former cow paths (which explains why I always get turned around on Moore's Mill). And our name evolved in a similarly scattershot manner. Read More

The Battle of Atlanta

July 22, 1864

“The Battle of Atlanta” sounds pretty definitive. And it’s understandable that the average person, not steeped in Civil War martial minutia, might consider this to be the dramatic and fiery destruction of the city (i.e. that famous flaming scene in Gone with the Wind.) But in fact, the battle waged in Atlanta on July 22, 1864 was just one step of the Atlanta Campaign, a months-long effort that didn’t reach its blazing conclusion until the fall. Read More

John Lewis's campaign mugshot

The congressman draws on an image from a 1960s arrest

John Lewis’s 2012 reelection staff decided to embrace the congressman’s civil disobedience record with merchandise featuring a photo from the activist’s 1963 arrest at an Atlanta Toddle House sit-in. Read More

The murder of Alberta King

June 30, 1974

On Sunday June 30 1974, Alberta Christine Williams King played “The Lord’s Prayer” on the organ of Ebenezer Baptist, the church where her father, A.D. Williams, her husband, Martin Luther King Sr., and son, Martin Luther King Jr., all had served as pastors. Read More

The Great Fire of 1917

A half-century after Sherman burned Atlanta, the core of the city went up in flames again. The Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 destroyed 1,938 buildings, wiped out 300 acres of real estate, and left more than 10,000 people homeless—almost a tenth of the city’s residents. Read More

Braves lose World Series—and get a parade!

October 29, 1991

On October 29, 1991, 750,000 Atlantans stormed Downtown to cheer for a losing team: the Atlanta Braves, returning from a defeat by the Minnesota Twins in a nail-biting World Series. Read More

The integration of Atlanta Public Schools

August 30, 1961

On the morning of August 30, 1961, nine African American students headed for the first day of classes at four all-white Atlanta high schools. They were shadowed by hundreds of reporters, dozens of police officers, and crowds of parents, politicians, and onlookers. Read More

Six Flags Over Georgia opens

June 16, 1967

It took $12 million to transform a 276-acre dairy farm west of Downtown into the Southeast’s first theme park; that Magic Kingdom down in Orlando wouldn’t open for four years. But all the clearing and construction didn’t eradicate the red clay and scrubby pines of the Cobb County surroundings when Six Flags Over Georgia opened for business on June 16, 1967. That rustic flavor added to the verisimilitude of Six Flags Over Georgia’s prime attractions: the Dahlonega Mine Train roller coaster, which hurtled from a thirty-seven-foot peak, and the Tales of the Okefenokee boat ride, which took passengers past slightly creepy scenes based on Joel Chandler Harris fables. Read More