A number of significant historical events have occurred in Georgia during the month of April.

1700-1749

1732

King George II of England signed a charter establishing the trustee colony of Georgia.


1750-1799

1752

The   Georgia Trustees ceded control of the colony to the British crown, after twenty years of rule.

Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument


1758

Much of Fort Frederica, established by James Oglethorpe on St. Simons Island, burned down.


1788

The first annual conference of Methodists in Georgia was held near Elberton.


1800-1849

1825

Creek leader  William McIntosh was killed by fellow Creeks at his plantation, Lockchau Talofau, in present-day Carroll County. This occurred after he negotiated the Treaty of Indian Springs, which ceded remaining Creek lands to the state of Georgia.

William McIntosh
William McIntosh

Image from Alabama Department of Archives and History


1838

The first coins were issued from the Branch Mint at Dahlonega.


1850-1899

1862

During  the Civil War, Fort Pulaski fell to Union forces, and Union spy James Andrews incited a seven-hour locomotive chase, later known as the Andrews Raid.

Susie King Taylor
Susie King Taylor

Susie King Taylor and other African Americans fled to St. Simons Island, which was under the control of Union troops. There, Taylor organized the state’s first freely operating freedmen’s school.


1863

Women in Columbus, desperate for food as a result of wartime shortages, looted several stores in what became known as a “bread riot.”


1865

Wilson’s Raid,  near the end of the war, resulted in the surrender of both Columbus and Macon to Union troops. That same month, a female military unit called the Nancy Harts surrendered LaGrange to Union troops.

Bread Riots
Bread Riots

From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper


1881

Spelman College was founded in the basement of Atlanta’s Friendship Baptist Church.


1898

The federal government requested that Georgia supply 3,000 troops for military campaigns during the Spanish-American War.


1900-1949

1903

Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois was published.


1912

Georgia  native Archibald Butt, a military aide to U.S. president William Howard Taft, died aboard the Titanic after delivering a message from the president to Catholic pope Pius X at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.

William Taft and Archibald Butt
William Taft and Archibald Butt

Courtesy of Georgia Archives.


1913

The Georgia Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention was held in Atlanta each April from 1913 to 1935.

Leo Frank was arrested in Atlanta for the murder of Mary Phagan. Frank was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to death, but he was later lynched by a mob after Governor John M. Slaton commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.


1918

During World War I, more than 500 German prisoners of war were interned at camps near Fort McPherson.


1926

The  country music string band Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers recorded eight songs in Atlanta for Columbia Records.


1934

The first Masters Tournament was held in Augusta.


1936

One of the most destructive tornadoes in the nation’s history hit Gainesville.


1937

The  U.S. Supreme Court struck down an insurrection statute used to convict Angelo Herndon, a member of the Communist Party who was arrested in Fulton County after participating in a labor demonstration.

Angelo Herndon
Angelo Herndon

From Let Me Live, by Angelo Herndon


1942

During World War II, the German U-boat U-123 sank three tankers off the Georgia coast.


1945

U.S.  president Franklin D. Roosevelt died at the Little White House in Warm Springs on April 12.

Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Little White House
Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Little White House

Courtesy of Georgia Info, Digital Library of Georgia.


1946

Ed Dodd’s comic strip Mark Trail debuted.


1947

The Brooklyn Dodgers bought Jackie Robinson’s contract, and a few days later Robinson became the first African American to play in a major-league baseball game on April 15.


1950-1999

1954

Hank Aaron, playing for the Milwaukee (later Atlanta) Braves, hit his first major-league home run.


1957

Twelve-year-old   Brenda Lee made her debut on the country music charts with the song “One Step at a Time.”


1959

The second location for the Naval Air Station Atlanta was completed in Marietta.


1965

The Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium was completed.


1966

The Atlanta Braves played their first home game at the Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium on April 12.


1968

On April 7 Spelman College hosted a public viewing of the body of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4. King’s funeral took place on April 9 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he had shared the pastorate with his father since 1960.

Students at the University of Georgia staged a sit-in to protest the dress and curfew rules for women on campus, which were stricter than those for men.


1974

Hank Aaronplaying in his final season with the Atlanta Braves, broke Babe Ruth’s home run record.


1979

The Georgia legislature declared Ray Charles’s version of “Georgia on My Mind” to be the official state song.


1983

Alice Walker  received both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel The Color Purple.


1987

Alfred Uhry’s play Driving Miss Daisy premiered at an off-Broadway theater.


1989

The Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, located at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, was created.


1990

The 40 Watt Club in Athens opened at its current location.


1995

The   state legislature declared April 19 to be “Johnny Mercer Day,” in honor of the songwriter Johnny Mercer, from Savannah.

Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer

Courtesy of Library of Congress, Music Division


1996

The mayor of Savannah named April 26 as “John Berendt Day,” in honor of the author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


1999

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame opened in Macon.


2000-Present

2000

The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame was inaugurated.


2004

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey selected Carson McCullers’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940) for her book club, spiking sales of the novel.


April Birthdays

April 12, 1724                    Lyman Hall, Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence

April [?], 1735                    Button Gwinnett, Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence

April 9, 1739                      William Bartram, botanist and explorer

April 8, 1771                      William Rabun, Georgia governor

April 11, 1790                    George R. Gilmer, Georgia governor

April 20, 1800                    Mark Anthony Cooper, industrialist

April 1, 1812                      Tunis Campbell, politician

April 2, 1814                      Henry L. Benning, Georgia Supreme Court justice

April 15, 1821                    Joseph E. Brown, politician

April 10, 1823                    Thomas R. R. Cobb, Confederate officer

April 26, 1826                    Ambrose Wright, Confederate officer

April 2, 1833                      Thomas Ruger, Georgia governor

April 13, 1854                    Lucy Craft Laney, educator

April 14, 1856                    Lamartine Hardman, Georgia governor

April 27, 1861                    Richard B. Russell Sr., politician

April 11, 1862                    Henry Rutherford Butler, pharmacist

April 20, 1863                    Helen Dortch Longstreet, Progressive-era reformer

April 5, 1871                      Glenn “Pop” Warner, football coach

April 22, 1872                    Henrietta Dozier, architect

April 12, 1885                    A. T. Walden, civil rights leader

April 29, 1885                    Wallingford Riegger, musician

April 26, 1886                    Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, musician

April 27, 1892                    Louie D. Newton, religious Leader

April 23, 1897                    Lucius D. Clay, military logistics expert

April 5, 1901                      Melvyn Douglas, actor

April 4, 1902                      A. Thomas Bradbury, architect

April 6, 1905                      Andrée Ruellan, artist

April 2, 1907                      Luke Appling, baseball player

April 9, 1907                      Peyton Anderson, newspaper publisher

April 12, 1908                    Robert Scott, aviator

April 5, 1916                      William Ragsdale Cannon, religious Leader

April 30, 1916                    Robert Shaw, musician

April 1, 1921                      Beau Jack, athlete

April 20, 1924                    Alfred H. Colquitt, Confederate officer

April 12, 1926                    Jane Withers, actress

April 27, 1927                    Coretta Scott King, civil rights leader

April 9, 1930                      Jim Fowler, naturalist

April 23, 1937                    Coleman Barks, poet

April 1, 1939                      Phil Niekro, athlete

April 10, 1948                    Mel Blount, athlete

April 28, 1952                    Chuck Leavell, musician

April 12, 1964                    Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, musician

April 13, 1964                    Davis Love III, golfer

April 26, 1966                    Natasha Trethewey, poet

April 18, 1983                    Cheryl Haworth, weight lifter

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Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Little White House

Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Little White House

In 1924, three years after Roosevelt contracted polio, he began visiting Warm Springs in Georgia. The springs were thought to be beneficial for polio victims. Roosevelt, who became the U.S. president in 1932, is pictured in front of the Little White House in Warm Springs.