Celebrating Celestine Sibley’s centennial

“Child, what are you up to?” Instantly recognizing the voice behind me, I froze midway into shoving the crumpled dollar bill into the brown interoffice memo envelope. It was the morning of October 3, 1995. In Los Angeles, the verdict was about to be read in the O.J. Simpson trial. And on the eighth floor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Features Department, I was collecting up the office pool. As the department’s unofficial class clown/kid brother and a writer for the paper’s Peach Buzz column (the copy desk lovingly referred to me as Buzz Boy), this was in my job description. The voice behind me belonged to Celestine Sibley, a newspapering icon and state treasure. Red-faced, I explained to “ma’am” what in the hell I was doing (I never, ever called her Celestine. I had grown up reading her, after all). She toddled off and I assumed she was on her way upstairs to demand that the publisher fire me and then tie me to printing presses in the basement and use my blood to pump out the afternoon’s Extra edition. A minute later, Celestine handed me a dollar and said, “Put me down for a guilty.”

Atlanta gets the Drunk History treatment

As someone who writes history books and drinks bourbon with enthusiasm, I’ve naturally added Comedy Central’s Drunk History to my must-watch list. While DH might be sophomoric it certainly delivers laughs, and, occasionally, a little bit of learning.

34. Try “plane-
spotting”

Here are three superior spots for a little aviation observation.

Just what is that tower in the Old Fourth Ward?

If you’ve found yourself in the Old Fourth Ward—maybe strolling up Irwin Street toward Bell Street Burritos or heading down the Atlanta BeltLine to Studioplex—you’ve undoubtedly spotted that giant concrete tower. And you’ve wondered, Just what is that? Or, more intriguingly, Does anyone live in there?

Dedication of the Gold Dome

The dedication of Georgia’s new Capitol on July 4, 1889 was an exercise in mixed metaphors. The ceremony, a grand legislative procession from the lawmakers’ temporary digs in an opera house on Marietta Street to the gilded edifice six blocks away, was carefully staged to symbolize democracy as an institution.

Does SCOTUS have any business reviewing the Voting Rights Act?

To veteran Atlanta litigator Emmet Bondurant, however, the question isn’t whether the rightward-tilting Court is likely to lift the requirement that Georgia, Mississippi, and other states with histories of black voter suppression obtain Justice Department “pre-clearance” for any measures that affect voters. (Hint: Is the pope-emeritus Catholic?) To Bondurant, the real mystery is why the Court has any business reviewing the law at all.

One Divine evening honoring Sol Kent and Fashionata

For decades, as the lights dimmed before every Fashionata runway show, Rich’s fashion director Sol Kent would position himself in the wings backstage and whisper to each of his anxious models, “Be Divine!” Kent’s words ended up inspiring “Be Divine: A Tribute to Fashionata,” Thursday night’s sold-out tribute to the city’s long-running Rich’s-hosted style extravaganza at The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Midtown. The evening served as a benefit for the Breman.

Gasp! Manuel’s Tavern is now smoke-free

Throughout its storied 58-year history, three things have remained constant at Atlanta’s politico watering hole Manuel’s Tavern. The city’s scribblers can always score a scoop if you wait around long enough. The tavern’s telepathic bartenders know you want another drink before you do. And at the end of the evening, your clothes are a walking billboard for Lucky Strikes.

Launching Forward Atlanta (again)

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.

The murder of Mary Phagan

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.

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