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Al Capone heads for the Atlanta federal penitentiary

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 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.

Groundbreaking for the Atlanta Stadium

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.

Atlanta’s “Berlin Wall”

In December 1962, Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. ordered barricades to be built across two Atlanta streets to discourage black citizens from purchasing homes in an adjacent all-white neighborhood.

Braves lose World Series—and get a parade!

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.

The integration of Atlanta Public Schools

On the morning of August 30, 1961, nine African American students headed for the first day of classes at four all-white Atlanta high schools. They were shadowed by hundreds of reporters, dozens of police officers, and crowds of parents, politicians, and onlookers.

The first Atlanta International Pop Festival

“There it was, man, pop culture in the middle of an unreal dust bowl with a wide asphalt rim.” Thus wrote the Atlanta Constitution’s Albert Scardino forty-two years ago about the first Atlanta International Pop Festival, which took place on the Fourth of July weekend in 1969.

Six Flags Over Georgia opens

It took $12 million to transform a 276-acre dairy farm west of Downtown into the Southeast’s first theme park; that Magic Kingdom down in Orlando wouldn’t open for four years. But all the clearing and construction didn’t eradicate the red clay and scrubby pines of the Cobb County surroundings when Six Flags Over Georgia opened for business on June 16, 1967. That rustic flavor added to the verisimilitude of Six Flags Over Georgia’s prime attractions: the Dahlonega Mine Train roller coaster, which hurtled from a thirty-seven-foot peak, and the Tales of the Okefenokee boat ride, which took passengers past slightly creepy scenes based on Joel Chandler Harris fables.

The first Braves game in Atlanta

April 9, 1965 was the first major league game in Atlanta—an exhibition outing against the Detroit Tigers by the Milwaukee Braves. Although Atlanta won the franchise in 1964, legal disputes kept the team tied up in Milwaukee into early 1966.

Ray Charles Serenades the Legislature

On March 7, 1979, musician Ray Charles played an unusual venue: Georgia’s Gold Dome. Charles serenaded lawmakers with “Georgia on My Mind,” his rendition of which was named the official state song by law a month later.

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