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.
The first time Atlanta writer Dana Hazels Seith attempted to interview Blondie for the new Clermont Lounge coffee table book, No Cameras, the legendary dancer threw her out of her Ponce de Leon Avenue dressing room. For good measure, Blondie also tossed Seith on her second and third attempts to talk to her.
You know those NPR *StoryCorps* segments that get you choked up on your morning commute? You can record a slice of personal history (interviews are archived at the Library of Congress) at the Atlanta StoryBooth, one of three permanent StoryCorps studios in the country.
Today marks a monumental anniversary: fifty years since the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Atlanta native son Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic "dream" speech. Amid all the discussion of how far we've come and how far we need to go, it's worth reflecting on how King's legacy is reflected in his hometown.
At one o’clock today, Atlanta city councilman Michael Julian Bond will honor Dante’s Down the Hatch owner Dante Stephensen at city hall with a City of Atlanta proclamation in honor of the restaurateur and jazz promoter’s “contributions to Atlanta’s cultural and business life.” Bond, a regular at the now-shuttered Buckhead nightspot, followed in the footsteps of his civil rights icon father Julian Bond, who was a regular at the original Dante’s Underground Atlanta location in the 1970s. “Dante’s was an Atlanta tradition,” explains Bond. “Locals and tourists alike flocked this unique establishment to experience a taste of the city in a communal fashion. This proclamation is our small gesture to Mr. Stephensen for four decades of service to Atlanta.”
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.
John Lewis came to Atlanta five decades ago as a founding leader of SNCC— the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee—and with an already impressive resume as an activist.
“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.”
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.