To inspire your research, check out sample Georgia topics paired with links to primary sources and contextual information. Click each image to view it in more detail.

Digital Library of Georgia
Civil Rights Digital Library
Georgia Historic Newspapers

The 1893 Sea Islands Hurricane

One of the deadliest hurricanes in American history made landfall south of Tybee Island on August 27, 1893. Word of the incoming storm spread through coastal Georgia by telegraph, word of mouth, and in rare cases, the telephone. But remote communities were less fortunate. The Sea Islands, home to more than 30,000 African Americans, were only accessible by boat and did not receive warnings about the oncoming storm.

Continue reading about the 1893 Sea Islands Hurricane in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

The 1906 Atlanta Race Riot (featuring Clark Howell and Hoke Smith)

During the 1906 governor’s race, candidates Clark Howell and Hoke Smith used their newspapers to sway public opinion and stoke resentment of African Americans. These sensationalized reports were the catalyst for the Atlanta Race Riot, which swept the city from September 22 to 24. Responding to incendiary newspaper headlines, thousands of white men gathered downtown and the mob turned violent, killing dozens of Black Atlantans and destroying many Black-owned businesses.

Continue reading about the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Cherokee Removal

Between 1838 and 1839, thousands of Cherokees were forced to march from Georgia to present-day Oklahoma, an event later named the “Trail of Tears.” Georgia settlers and political leaders pressured the federal government to take Cherokee lands and relocate the Cherokee to the West. Though Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross and his supporters resisted removal, three opposing Cherokee chiefs secretly met and signed Cherokee lands away to the U.S. government in the Treaty of New Echota. The government used the treaty to seize Cherokee lands and expel the Native population.

Continue reading about Cherokee Removal in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Teaching Primary Sources Classroom Activity

Dueling in Georgia

When talking it out was just not enough, dueling provided a deadly alternative to resolving a disagreement. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, dueling was considered a civilized way to handle uncivil matters. Some distinct rules and expectations guided duels and maintained order. Often, duels ended up bringing the parties together so they could discuss the issue and leave without firing a shot. If that did not succeed, there would be blood.

Continue reading about dueling in Georgia in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

William Calley Jr. and the My Lai Massacre

One of the most shocking episodes of the Vietnam War was the My Lai Massacre in March 1968. William Calley Jr. was a driving force in the massacre during which U.S. soldiers killed hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians. After the military and Nixon administration attempted to cover up the massacre, an investigative journalist interviewed Calley and published a story about the event. Calley was sentenced to life in prison but served just under four years of house arrest.

Continue reading about the William Calley Jr. and the My Lai Massacre in the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

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