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Explore Georgia’s rich music history

From blues and soul to classical and country—our Spotify playlists feature 130+ songs written and performed by Georgians.

Helen Lewis

Helen Lewis

Helen Lewis, activist and scholar, was a founder of the Appalachian Studies discipline. After moving to Wise, Virginia, in the heart of coal country, in 1955, she came to despise the human and environmental devastation caused by the coal and chemical industry.

Courtesy of Appalachian State University, W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection.

Living Social Justice in Appalachia

Living Social Justice in Appalachia

Living Social Justice in Appalachia was published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2012. Compiled by longtime colleagues Judith Jennings and Patricia Beaver, it contains biographical essays, oral histories, and interviews with Helen Lewis.

Annie L. McPheeters

Annie L. McPheeters

Annie L. McPheeters, pictured circa 1940, was appointed assistant librarian at the Auburn Branch of the Carnegie Library of Atlanta in 1934. McPheeters was responsible for developing the library's core Negro History Collection, housed today at the Auburn Avenue Research Library.

Courtesy of Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System. Photograph by Lane Brothers

Library Booktruck

Library Booktruck

Annie L. Watters (McPheeters), pictured in 1934, stands beside the booktruck that she used as a librarian in Greenville, South Carolina. That same year she arrived at the Auburn Branch of the Atlanta Public Library, where she became one of the city's first African American professional librarians.

Courtesy of Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

Annie L. McPheeters

Annie L. McPheeters

Annie L. Watters (McPheeters) stands outside the Auburn Branch of the Atlanta Public Library, circa 1938. McPheeters worked at the Auburn Branch from 1934 until 1949, during which time she launched and expanded the Negro History Collection, housed today at the Auburn Avenue Research Library.

Courtesy of Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

WERD Broadcast

WERD Broadcast

Atlanta librarian Annie L. McPheeters (center), pictured circa 1955, participates in a Friends of the Library Broadcast on WERD radio. With her are Ernestine Brazeal (left), president of Friends of the Library, and Vivian Beavers, member of Friends of the Library.

Courtesy of Archives Division, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System

Lucian Lamar Knight

Lucian Lamar Knight

Journalist Lucian Lamar Knight worked as a literary editor for the Atlanta Constitution and as an associate editor for the Atlanta Georgian before becoming the founder and first director of the Georgia Department of Archives and History (later Georgia Archives).

Courtesy of Georgia Archives,
Ad Hoc Collection, #
ah00134.

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Horace Mann Bond

Horace Mann Bond

Horace Mann Bond, a historian and the father of Georgia politician Julian Bond, served as the president of Fort Valley Normal and Industrial School (later Fort Valley State University) from 1939 to 1945. During that time, he doubled the school's income and oversaw its transition to a four-year college.

Marie Woolfolk Taylor

Marie Woolfolk Taylor

Marie Woolfolk Taylor, a native of Atlanta, was one of the cofounders of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the first Greek-letter organization in the nation to be established by Black college women. The sorority began in 1908 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and as of 2006 comprises more than 170,000 members.

From Footprints in the Sands of Time, by M. H. Parker

Malthus Ward Grave site

Malthus Ward Grave site

The Athens Garden Club installed a marker at the grave site of Malthus Ward, the first professor of natural history at the University of Georgia, in 1987. After leaving the university in 1842, Ward opened a commercial garden in Athens and founded the Horticultural Society of Georgia.

Photograph by LeAnna Biles Schooley

Malthus Ward Home

Malthus Ward Home

Trees planted by natural historian Malthus Ward during the 1830s still stand outside his former home on Dearing Street in Athens. During his tenure as a professor at the University of Georgia, Ward maintained a botanical garden on the property.

Photograph by LeAnna Biles Schooley

Wessie Connell

Wessie Connell

Wessie Connell works in her office at the Roddenbery Memorial Library in Cairo, circa 1970. Connell founded the first public library in Cairo in 1939 and is credited with developing such outreach activities as children's story time and book mobiles.

Courtesy of Roddenbery Memorial Library

Wessie Connell

Wessie Connell

Wessie Connell talks to a group of children on the grounds of the Roddenbery Memorial Library in 1968. Connell worked to provide library services to the residents of Cairo, both children and adults, from 1939 until her death in 1987.

Courtesy of Roddenbery Memorial Library

Wessie Connell

Wessie Connell

Wessie Connell sits in the Roddenbery Memorial Library garden, circa 1980. For twenty-five years, Connell operated a public library in Cairo from a room above city hall. A library building for the town was constructed by the Roddenbery family in 1964.

Courtesy of Roddenbery Memorial Library

Benjamin Mays

Benjamin Mays

Benjamin Mays was the president of Morehouse college from 1940 until his retirement in 1967.

Benjamin Mays

Benjamin Mays

Dr. Benjamin Mays accepts the presidency of the Atlanta Board of Education in 1970. After his retirement in 1967 from Morehouse, Mays remained active in several social and political organizations of prominence and was in demand as a speaker and lecturer.

Courtesy of Moorland-Spingarn Research Center

Benjamin Mays

Benjamin Mays

Benjamin Mays, president of Morehouse College from 1940 until 1967, attends a birthday party in his honor on August 11, 1973.

Courtesy of Atlanta History Center.

Steadman Sanford

Steadman Sanford

Among his many accomplishments at the University of Georgia, Steadman Sanford founded the journalism school and established a modern football stadium for the UGA Bulldogs.

Martha Berry

Martha Berry

Martha Berry, the daughter of a wealthy Floyd County planter, founded several "Berry Schools" that were established to provide poor children in the north Georgia mountains with the opportunity to earn an education. In 1902 she founded in Rome the school that would become Berry College

Courtesy of Berry College Archives

Martha Berry

Martha Berry

As a result of her work of forty years with education and Berry College, Martha Berry is among Georgia's most prominent women of the first half of the twentieth century.

From The World's Work, 1907

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Oak Hill

Oak Hill

Oak Hill is the colonial revival-style family home of Martha Berry, founder of Berry College. Oak Hill houses the Martha Berry Museum, which opened in 1972 as a historic house, history museum, and a reception center for visitors.

Courtesy of Explore Georgia.

Martha Berry and Calvin Coolidge

Martha Berry and Calvin Coolidge

Martha Berry was awarded the Roosevelt Medal in 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge.

Courtesy of Berry College Archives

Martha Berry

Martha Berry

Martha Berry's school programs emphasized the regenerative power of work. Diligent labor, she believed, would promote character in her students by encouraging responsibility and a sense of self-worth.

Jasper Guy Woodroof

Jasper Guy Woodroof

Clarence Birdseye (left), founder of Birdseye Frozen Foods, tastes products developed through the research efforts of Dr. Jasper Guy Woodroof (right) in 1940.

Courtesy of Lawrence Akers

Jasper Guy Woodroof

Jasper Guy Woodroof

Jasper Guy Woodroof, a pioneer in food science and technology and often called the "father of food science," made outstanding scientific and technical contributions to the food industry over the course of his professional career.

Courtesy of Lawrence Akers

Thornwell Jacobs

Thornwell Jacobs

Thornwell Jacobs became the president of Oglethorpe University in 1915. Jacobs is depicted in academic regalia in a painting by the portraitist Charles Naegle.

Courtesy of Oglethorpe University Archives

Thornwell Jacobs

Thornwell Jacobs

In 1933 Thornwell Jacobs launched his "University of the Air," a pioneer effort at distance learning that broadcast college credit courses over radio station WJTL.

Courtesy of Oglethorpe University Archives

David C. Barrow Jr.

David C. Barrow Jr.

David C. Barrow Jr. served as chancellor of the University of Georgia from 1906 to 1925, a position roughly analogous to the modern presidency of that institution. Barrow led the university through a period of great growth.

David C. Barrow Jr.

David C. Barrow Jr.

Students at the University of Georgia nicknamed David C. Barrow Jr. "Uncle Dave" and thought of him as benevolent, wise, caring, and able to enforce rules with the proper mixture of justice and concern.

David C. Barrow Jr.

David C. Barrow Jr.

David C. Barrow Jr.'s name survives in Barrow County, in an Athens elementary school and an Athens street, and at the University of Georgia in Barrow Hall and the David C. Barrow Chair of Mathematics. Barrow died in 1929.

David C. Barrow Jr.

David C. Barrow Jr.

David C. Barrow Jr. used his political skills in dealing with the usual problems of administering a university, such as the place of intercollegiate athletics and the role of powerful deans with statewide constituencies (especially the College of Agriculture). Barrow often had to lobby the legislature for funds.

Hope Family

Hope Family

John and Lugenia Burns Hope, pictured with their sons, John and Edward, were leaders in Atlanta's Black community during the early 1900s. John Hope served as president of both Morehouse College and Atlanta University, and Lugenia Burns Hope founded Atlanta's Neighborhood Union.

John Hope

John Hope

John Hope, the first Black president of both Morehouse College and Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University), was an important African American educator and race leader of the early twentieth century.

Image from The Crisis, Vol 8, No 1, May 1914

Affiliation Signing, 1929

Affiliation Signing, 1929

(Left to right) President Myron Adams of Atlanta University, President Florence M. Read of Spelman College, and President John Hope of Morehouse College preside over an affiliation signing on April 11, 1929.

Courtesy of Spelman College Archives

Lucy Craft Laney’s Capitol Portrait

Lucy Craft Laney’s Capitol Portrait

Lucy Craft Laney’s portrait, pictured, was the first portrait of an African American woman to be displayed in the Georgia state capitol. It was selected by Governor Jimmy Carter in 1974. Laney was also inducted into the Georgia Women of Achievement in 1992.

Courtesy of Georgia Capitol Museum, University of Georgia Libraries, Capitol Art Collection (Capitol Museum Collection), # 1992.23.0050.

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Lucy Craft Laney

Lucy Craft Laney

The founder and principal of the Haines Institute in Augusta for fifty years (1883-1933), Lucy Craft Laney, or "Miss Lucy," is Georgia's most famous female African American educator.

Haines Normal and Industrial Institute

Haines Normal and Industrial Institute

Lucy Craft Laney's school, founded in 1883, was chartered by the state three years later and named the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute.