October 26, 1970
Muhammad Ali returns to the ring and defeats Jerry Quarry at the Municipal Auditorium.
November 3, 1970
Jimmy Carter is elected governor.
July 1, 1971
Eastern Airlines adds service to Mexico and Jamaica, and the airport name is changed to William B. Hartsfield International Airport.
November 9, 1971
Voters pass a referendum that allows for the launch of MARTA. The next year, the fledgling transit organization will buy the assets of the Atlanta Transit System and begin plans for rail lines.
The first issue of Creative Loafing is published.
October 7, 1972
The Atlanta Flames play their first game, beating the New York Islanders 3–2. The hockey franchise will be based in Atlanta for the next eight years before being transferred to Calgary.
Nicknamed the “egg crate” because of its modern steel roof, the Omni Coliseum opens. It will be plagued by construction and design problems from now until its demolition in 1997.
November 7, 1972
Andrew Young wins Georgia’s Fifth District, becoming the state’s first African American elected to Congress since Reconstruction.
October 16, 1973
Maynard Jackson is elected Atlanta’s first black mayor.
>> Read our January 2011 article about Jackson's inaugural celebration.
October 27, 1973
“Midnight Train to Georgia” by Atlanta native Gladys Knight tops the Billboard Hot 100.
February 20, 1974
A man named William Williams, claiming to represent a right-wing terror organization, kidnaps Atlanta Constitution editor Reg Murphy.
April 8, 1974
Atlanta Brave Hank Aaron hits home run 715, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
June 30, 1974
Alberta King, mother of Martin Luther King Jr., is shot and killed during services at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
After serving one term in office, former Governor Lester Maddox opens a souvenir stand in Underground Atlanta selling, among other gewgaws, wooden pickax handles dubbed “Pickrick Drumsticks.” In 1964 Maddox infamously closed his Pickrick chicken restaurant rather than integrating; media reports claimed he and his staff drove off would-be integrationists with axes.
October 29, 1975
Linda Ronstadt performs at the Fox Theatre, the first show after the Fox was closed earlier in the year. A massive public campaign, Save the Fox, rescued the landmark from demolition.
January 1, 1976
Ted Turner purchases the Atlanta Braves.
May 26, 1976
The World of Sid & Marty Krofft, a theme park dedicated to the creators of TV characters such as H.R. Pufnstuf, opens in the Omni.
November 2, 1976
Jimmy Carter is elected president.
December 17, 1976
WTCG (later WTBS), owned by Ted Turner and billed as the first cable “superstation,” is transmitted nationwide.
January 29, 1977
“Dazz,” from the album Good High by Atlanta-based Brick, reaches number three on the Billboard Hot 100. (The song hit number one on the R&B charts.) The band coined the word “dazz” to describe its origins as the fusion of a disco group and a jazz band. Other hits included “Dusic” and “That’s What It’s All About.”
January 5, 1978
The Sex Pistols make their U.S. debut at the Great Southeast Music Hall.
February 5, 1978
Atlanta hosts its first NBA All-Star game.
March 6, 1978
Leaving a courthouse in Lawrenceville during his trial on obscenity charges, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt is shot by a sniper, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Mike Thevis simply walks out of jail in New Albany, Indiana, and disappears. After four months on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, he is finally caught and arrested, busted trying to cash a $31,500 check. In the sixties and seventies, Thevis, a Georgia Tech dropout, built an empire of adult bookstores and peep shows, at one point controlling about 40 percent of the U.S. porn biz. He tried to bolster his image in still-staid Atlanta by donating cash to the symphony and offering to let the city use his mansion as a school. No thanks, sniffed the establishment. In 1976 he was tried and later imprisoned—on racketeering, arson, and extortion charges.
June 1, 1978
Sabena Airlines launches service to Brussels, becoming the first foreign-owned carrier to work out of Atlanta.
April 24, 1979
The Ray Charles rendition of “Georgia on My Mind” is named the official state song.
>> Read our April 2011 story about Charles's performance on the floor of the Georgia Capitol.
June 22, 1979
The first Home Depot stores open.
July 28, 1979
The bodies of Alfred Evans and Edward Hope Smith, both fourteen, are found, the first victims in what will be known as the Atlanta Child Murders. The case will terrorize the city for the next two years as more than two dozen boys and young men are killed.