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Through thousands of newspaper columns and twenty books, the Georgia-born humorist forged a bond with Southern readers—whether he wrote about football-carrying Dawgs in Athens, the chili variety at the Varsity, or his beloved black Lab, Catfish. At twenty-three the UGA alum became the youngest sports editor in the history of the Atlanta Journal, where he worked alongside his idol Furman Bisher. But when the Atlanta Constitution assigned him to write a column in 1977, Grizzard became a star, syndicated in 450 newspapers and with recurring visits to Johnny Carson’s couch on The Tonight Show. He died from heart failure at age forty-seven. A portion of his ashes was scattered on the fifty-yard line at Sanford Stadium.
In 1989 the McKinneys became the first simultaneous father-daughter Georgia reps, and Cynthia went on to become the state’s first African American U.S. congresswoman. Both politicians proved fiery advocates for the poor and disenfranchised. Billy was one of Atlanta’s first black police officers—which didn’t stop him from forming a one-man picket line to demand the city hire more. A firm believer in equal-opportunity offensives, Billy cochaired Sidney Marcus’s (unsuccessful) mayoral campaign against Andy Young in 1981. Cynthia, who literally learned the ropes of civil action upon her father’s shoulders, served six terms in the U.S. House and was the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2008. She lost credibility over conspiracy theories, such as implying that President Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11 and that, after Katrina, the Department of Defense secretly disposed of 5,000 bodies bearing single gunshots to the head.
In a move that combines burlesque with recycling, Blondie Strange crushes Budweiser empties flatter than platters between her breasts without flinching, dismounts the stage, and pulls a Sharpie from behind the bar to autograph them for the hooting frat boys, intown scenesters, and gamy night crawlers who are waving dollar bills.