The last hundred years have brought dramatic and sometimes disturbing changes to Georgia. Big cities and their sprawling suburbs, industry and urban blight, as well as greater incomes, better educations and social reform, came inevitably, despite persistent poverty and race-hating demagogues. Some thirty documents, or groups of documents, give firsthand reports of sharecropping, race riots, lynchings, the chain gang, segregation and desegregation, Gene Talmadge’s “dictatorship,” the vision of M. L. King, Jr., Jimmy Carter’s first campaign. However, as Georgia hurtles into the future, the state’s identity and traditions are being sacrificed to a homogenized mass-market culture on an altar of uncertain “progress.” William F. Holmes is professor of history at the University of Georgia.
Book Six in the Documentary History of Georgia series.