A Georgia congressman and one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington and a Georgia Congressman,
John Lewis was born on February 21, 1940. Born into a rural sharecropping family, Lewis grew to participate in the sit-ins in Nashville, the Freedom Rides, voter registration in Mississippi, and Bloody Sunday in Selma. He also served as a chairman for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Author of the famous book
The Color Purple,
which was popularized
by the 1985 film starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia on February 9, 1944. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author published her first work at age 23 in a collection edited by renowned Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes.
Hired by the
Atlanta Constitution in 1929,
Harry McGill eventually became the editor in 1941. As a white man he challenged Governor Eugene Talmadge and the Ku Klux Klan, encouraged Georgians to obey the federal government's inclusive laws, and disavowed the sweeping racial violence of the time. McGill passed on February 3, 1969, but not before his journalistic efforts earned him a Pulitzer Prize.
Although born in Massachusetts on February 23, 1868 just after the end of the Civil War, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois taught at Atlanta University for nearly a quarter of a century. The first African-American to earn a PhD from Harvard, he wrote some of his most prominent works, including
The Souls of Black Folk,
while in Atlanta. DuBois was also powerfully influenced by the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906--which led him to help found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909.
For more on these individuals,
Today in Georgia History
has a calendar of short videos, some of which are summarized here.