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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.

 

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

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


The first glass of Coca-Cola is served

May 8, 1886

Coca-Cola was billed as a versatile drug that could “cure all nervous afflictions—Sick Headache, Neuralgia, Hysteria, Melancholy, Etc. …” Read More

Al Capone heads for the Atlanta federal penitentiary

May 4, 1932

On May 4, 1932, Al Capone was put into a special rail car on the Dixie Flyer, under heavy guard, en route for the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta. He was destined for celebrity status. Read More

The murder of Mary Phagan

April 26, 1913

On April 26, 1913, Mary Phagan, an employee of the National Pencil Factory, went into the business office to pick up $1.20 in pay from business manager Leo Frank. Mary, who was thirteen, earned twelve cents an hour running a machine that put metal caps on pencils. Frank, a Cornell graduate, had supervised National Pencil for five years. Read More

Groundbreaking for the Atlanta Stadium

April 15, 1964

It’s the ultimate example of Atlanta’s ahem, ballsy boosterism. On April 15, 1964, ground was broken for a new stadium. Never mind that the city didn’t have a baseball franchise and details of how it would all be paid for were still being sorted out. “We expect to be playing major league baseball here this time next year,” mayor Ivan Allen confidently told the New York Times. 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