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Charles Weltner standing at a John F. Kennedy Library podium

Flashback: The Georgia Representative who gave up Congress to oppose segregation

Former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young called Charles Weltner a moderate “who woke up the conscience of the South” and put him in the same league as Ralph McGill and Martin Luther King Jr.

Flashback: Karl Wallenda’s high-wire walk across Tallulah Gorge, 1970

Tallulah Falls city leaders wanted to increase the town’s profile, so they did the obvious: They invited Karl Wallenda—a German-born daredevil who had captivated audiences around the world with nail-biting, high-wire walks—to cross Tallulah Gorge in what some considered his riskiest stunt yet.

Red state rising: The last days of Georgia’s two-party system

Georgia politics in the 1990s was like a murky twilight zone with two galaxies spinning away from each other. On one side were the remains of the old Solid Democratic South, still dominant at the beginning of the decade but best glimpsed in ghosts and caricature-like light from vanished stars. On the other side: the Solid Republican South, gathering mass and best represented by Newt Gingrich.

How Lester Maddox was elected

In the Georgia Gubernatorial Election of 1966, Lester Maddox rode a wave of resentment over the advancement of the civil rights movement and finished in a virtual tie with Republican millionaire Bo Callaway. Neither won a majority due to former Governor Ellis Arnall’s third-party candidacy. After wrangling, the Democrat-controlled Georgia legislature selected Maddox as the winner.

Lester Maddox

Lester Maddox, best known as an anti-integrationist and chicken restaurateur, stumbled into the governorship. When his opponent failed to win a majority of votes, the General Assembly picked Maddox.


The remarkable behind-the-scenes story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 funeral.
Muhammad Ali Atlanta fight 1970

Knockout: An oral history of Muhammad Ali, Atlanta, and the fight nobody wanted

The notion that Muhammad Ali—a conscientious objector who was a member of the Nation of Islam—would make his comeback in the deep South at the height of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War seemed laugh-out-loud ridiculous. But thanks to one fortuitous telephone call to a local businessman—and the political savvy of State Senator Leroy Johnson—Atlanta stunned the world by granting Ali a boxing license and playing host to his return on October 26, 1970.

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