Thursday, December 08, 2016

ACLU of Georgia: Religious Freedom

This is the fourth post in a series about the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia Records, which were processed in 2015 and are now open for research. These records document the ACLU of Georgia's litigation, lobbying, and public education efforts to protect civil liberties for all Georgians. Their work, which began in 1963, involves issues such as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, due process of law, and opposing discrimination against many groups. This series of posts was written by Shaniqua Singleton, a student at the UGA School of Law, who was instrumental in processing these papers.

"Coalition to Protect Georgia's Bill
of Rights," flyer in opposition to
SR 49, amending Georgia's constitutional
provision governing religious freedom, ca. 2005.
Source: Series IV, Box 3, Folder 20. 
The United States is a rich melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups. One can drive through Athens and find many places of worship. The United States Constitution reflects this religious and cultural diversity, stating “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or the free exercise thereof.” The ACLU also holds tolerance of and respect for freedom of religion in high regard, and has been at the forefront of a number of legal and legislative battles to protect that right.

Flyer in opposition to HB 941
to allow local governments to
display copies of the
Ten Commandments, ca. 2006.
Source: Series IV, Box 2, Folder 37.

For example, the ACLU of Georgia’s records contain a number of challenges to displays of the Ten Commandments on state-owned property. In Turner v. Habersham County (2002-2003) the ACLU challenged a display of the Ten Commandments at the county courthouse. Researchers will find in these records photographs of the display and letters from the general public expressing support for and opposition to efforts to remove it. Researchers will also find documents outlining the ACLU’s legal arguments for why the display should be removed and press releases explaining its decision to move forward with the litigation.


Similarly, other records exemplify the ACLU’s challenges to depictions of the Ten Commandments on county seals and other documents authored by the county, including Doe v. Barrow County and King v. Richmond County. Perhaps the most interesting part of these records is a series of surveys conducted by the ACLU to determine whether members of the public associated a symbol of two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. Beyond this, researchers will find expert testimony and scholarly opinions on the symbolism behind depictions of stone tablets, and court documents from the ACLU discussing these findings.
Cover of ACLU of North Carolina publication,
"God & Country in the Public Schools,"
undated. Source: Series II, Box 45, Folder 13.

The ACLU has also challenged invocations at public meetings when they made reference to a specific religion (Pelphrey v. Cobb County - 2005-2008) and disclaimers regarding evolution in school textbooks (Selman v. Cobb County - 2002-2006), protected the rights of people to wear religious attire in public places like schools and courtrooms, challenged official school prayer and other religious observances in schools, and opposed faith-based legislation that provides government funding to programs run by religious organizations. In each of these challenges, the ACLU’s position has been the same: government should avoid establishing, explicitly or implicitly, a national religion and should not interfere with an individual’s right to practice their religion.

Logo of "Sybil Liberty," from ACLU
Briefer on religious freedom in
schools, undated.
Source: Series II, Box 37, Folder 18.
The ACLU regards freedom of religion as one of the bedrocks of our constitutional rights and defends both religious and secular viewpoints to uphold this right. Researchers interested in tangible examples of the ACLU’s work in defending religious freedom and challenging perceived violations of said right will find a wealth information in these records.


Monday, November 14, 2016

ACLU of Georgia: Voting Rights

This is the third in a series of posts about the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia Records, which were processed in 2015 and are now open for research. These records document the ACLU of Georgia's litigation, lobbying, and public education efforts to protect civil liberties for all Georgians. Their work, which began in 1963, involves issues such as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, due process of law, and opposing discrimination against many groups. This series of posts was written by Shaniqua Singleton, a student at the UGA School of Law, who was instrumental in processing these papers.

"Save the Voting Rights Act" cover
from Southern Changes, 1981.
Series II, Box 40, Folder 8.
In what has turned out to be an eventful and important election year, members of the general electorate have just cast their votes for America’s next president. On the face of it, the process of voting seems simple enough: an individual registers to vote, identifies a polling place, and casts a ballot, fulfilling what many view as a crucial civic duty. However, this simplistic description glosses over a long and continuing discussion about voting rights in the United States. The ACLU of Georgia frequently has been at the forefront of this discussion.

"Get Your Vote Back" pamphlet
produced by the ACLU for
ex-felons, 2008.
Series I, Box 8, Folder 51.
Over the years, the ACLU of Georgia has worked to protect and secure the voting rights of all segments of the population. The organization believes in the importance of the democratic process and seeks to promote voting regulations that incentivize as many people to vote as possible. The ACLU monitors electoral processes throughout the state to ensure the rights of voters are protected and litigates matters related to voting rights when needed, such as challenging the compliance of judicial elections with the Voting Rights Act or challenging redistricting plans for racial discrimination. Additionally, the ACLU engages in a number of voter education campaigns and actively works to reform laws allowing felon disenfranchisement.

"Vote No on SB 84 and HB 244" ACLU talking
points against legislation requiring a photo
ID to vote, 2005. Series IV, Box 7, Folder 36.
A key example of the ACLU of Georgia’s work in this area is its effort to challenge voter identification requirements. The records of the ACLU of Georgia highlight one such case. In Common Cause v. Billups (2005-2009), the ACLU challenged the Georgia General Assembly’s revision of the state’s voter identification laws. The new law limited the number of permissible forms of identification to 5, a significant reduction from the 17 different forms of identification previously allowed, and required individuals to pay for voter identification cards. The ACLU ultimately lost on this matter, but researchers interested in viewing these records will find many documents, including arguments filed with the courts, court orders, and debates among amicus curiae (“friends of the court”), illustrating the nuances of voting rights and the efforts of the ACLU to protect these rights. There are also materials in Series IV. Legislation related to photo ID requirements. Researchers might especially be interested in these records, since the arguments set forth by the ACLU echo much of the dialogue regarding voter turnout and participation heard in this election season.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Fall Exhibits Reception Promises History, Drama















Athens, Ga. – The Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries at the University of Georgia will host a reception celebrating new exhibitions on display Nov. 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Part of UGA’s Spotlight on the Arts Festival, the event will include light refreshments, live music, and an interactive student performance. The reception is free and open to the public.

“Performing the Archives,” a class led by Dr. Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, is a course where undergraduate students have spent the fall semester exploring collections in the political archives using the campaign exhibit “On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia,” as their framework. The ensemble selected one of Georgia’s most dramatic events – the Three Governors Controversy – to serve as inspiration for developing their original performance. Staged in spaces throughout the building, students will transport attendees to 1947 for this moment in the state’s political history aided by costumes, props, food from White Tiger Gourmet, and music from local string duo Hog-Eyed Man to set the scene.

“Supported by the CTL Special Collections Fellows Program, the ensemble is thrilled to share the entertaining results of what happens when you let artists loose in the archive,” said Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin. “Because the students are using devised theatre techniques—that is, making a piece of theatre without a script but rather from creative experiments with archival material, they will share in the audience’s surprise of what this final performance will be. It will be a memorable night, indeed!”

In addition to the student performance, visitors will also have the chance to explore new exhibits on display, many of which were curated by or in collaboration with UGA students.
Dixie Gallups, a second year in the Historic Preservation graduate program, co-curated “50 Years of Foxfire,” which explores the history of the organization dedicated to documenting folk life and customs in the Appalachian Mountains. “My experience as a student curator working on this exhibit was challenging, time consuming, and exciting,” said Gallups. “This work has opened up an entire new world of possibilities and career paths for me. I think it’s safe to say that now I’m hooked on exhibits!”

Over the past two years the University of Georgia has taken significant steps toward making sure that all students engage in these kinds of hands-on experiences during their time on campus. “One of our primary goals is to serve as a teaching library, collaborating with faculty and students to support all stages of the learning process by exploring a variety of teaching and outreach methods,” said Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost. “The Libraries’ leadership in initiatives like the Digital Humanities Lab, the Special Collections Libraries Faculty Fellows Program and new proposals now in development to create internship opportunities that meet the requirements of the new experiential learning curriculum are all steps in furtherance of that of that goal.”

Current exhibitions on display in the galleries include: “The Year of Georgia Music,” “Every Drop Counts: Managing Georgia’s Water Supply,” “50 Years of Foxfire,” “Keep Your Seats Everyone…The Redcoats are Coming!” “On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia,” and the annual exhibition honoring new inductees into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

For more information about the event, visit the Facebook Event Page

the Special Collections Libraries call 706.542.7123 or visit www.libs.uga.edu/sclwww.libs.uga.edu/scl

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Russell Library Launches Ready, Steady, Vote! Event Series

Could your election season use a little non-partisan entertainment? If so, then plan to join the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies for Ready, Steady, Vote!, an event series spotlighting all things presidential during the 2016 election season. A combination of community forums, debate watch events, lectures and performances hosted with campus and community partners, Ready, Steady, Vote! is free and open to the public. Dates and descriptions for individual events are listed below. For more information, contact jhebbard@uga.edu or call (706) 542-5788.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 4:00-5:00PM
A President in Our Midst: Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

Please join the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the University of Georgia Press in welcoming author Kaye Minchew for a talk focused on her new book, A President in Our Midst: Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Georgia. Roosevelt visited Georgia forty-one times between 1924 and 1945. Minchew’s work offers a rich gathering of photographs and remembrances that document the vital role of Georgia’s people and places in FDR’s rise from his position as a despairing politician daunted by disease to his role as a revered leader who guided the country through its worst depression and a world war. A light reception and book signing will follow the lecture at 5:00 p.m.


Monday, September 26, 2016, 8:00-10:30PM

Presidential Debate Watch
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

Witness history in the making! As the campaign season comes to a fever pitch and Election Day draws near, join the Russell Library for Political Research and Studies for Debate Watch 2016 on Monday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m. Visitors will gather to watch the candidates go toe-to-toe on the big screen. Dr. Paul Gurian, Associate Professor of Political Science at The University of Georgia, will introduce the debate and facilitate discussion. Doors will open at 8:00, followed by discussion at 8:30, and the debate at 9:00.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 2:00PM-3:30PM
Community Forum,  America’s Role in the World
Room 258, Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

What does “national security” mean in the 21st century? And how do we, as citizens of the United States, think our elected leaders should go about securing our nation? Does the answer lie in strengthening the military or balancing the budget? Or perhaps it’s a question of our active participation in a global society – working with other countries to find collaborative solutions to issues like overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, global warming, pandemics, and food shortages. Join us for this deliberative discussion weighing the benefits and tradeoffs of three approaches to this issue using a National Issues Forums issue guide.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 3:30-5:30PM

Political Breakdown: Understanding the 2016 Presidential Election
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries

The 2016 election has confounded pundits and political observers. How did Donald Trump win the Republican nomination? How did Bernie Sanders mount such an unexpected challenge to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary? Who is most likely to win in November? Join celebrated political scientists John Sides and Lynn Vavreck for a breakdown of key data collected during this election cycle to find answers to these questions. A light reception and book signing for The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election will follow the lecture at 4:30.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 7:00-8:00PM

Georgia Debate Union vs. Barkley Forum, Topic: Immigration Policy 
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries
More information coming soon...


Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 2:00-3:30PM

Community Forum, America’s Future: What Should Our Budget Priorities Be?
Room 258, Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

America is slowly coming out of a long recession. Unemployment, after peaking at 10 percent in 2009, has fallen below 8 percent; more new homes are being built, although just gradually. Despite the heavy blow we've taken in the last few years, the US economy is very large and still growing. We have significant resources, but they are finite. What direction should we take? Join us for this deliberative discussion where we weigh the benefits and tradeoffs of three approaches to this issue using an National Issues Forums issue guide.


Wednesday October 19, 2016, 8:00-10:30PM
Presidential Debate Watch
Auditorium (Room 271), Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

Witness history in the making! As the campaign season comes to a fever pitch and Election Day draws near, join the Russell Library for Political Research and Studies for Debate Watch 2016 on Wednesday, October 19 at 8:00 p.m. Visitors will gather to watch the candidates go toe-to-toe on the big screen. Dr. Paul Gurian, Associate Professor of Political Science at The University of Georgia, will introduce the debate and facilitate discussion. Doors will open at 8:00, followed by discussion at 8:30, and the debate at 9:00.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 2:00-3:30PM
Community Forum, The Divided States of America: How Can We Get Work Done Even When We Disagree?
Room 258, Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

Many Americans are concerned that our differences are preventing us from tackling the serious public problems we face in our communities and nation. Political observers say we’re more polarized now than we’ve been since the Civil War. People in communities say they feel increasingly discounted, segregated and excluded based on their beliefs. Join us for this deliberative discussion where we weigh the benefits and tradeoffs of three approaches to this issue using an National Issues Forums issue guide.


Thursday, November 10, 2016, 5:30-7:30PM
Special Collections Fall Exhibits Reception 
Second Floor, Richard B. Russell Building for Special Collections Libraries

The Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries will host its bi-annual reception celebrating new exhibitions on Thursday, November 10 at 5:30 p.m. The event will include live music, light refreshments, and gallery activities. A special performance of “On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia” by the students of THEA 4800 / AFAM 4250 will take place in the auditorium at 6:30PM. RSVP to lnessel@uga.edu or call 706.542.3879. For more information about the Special Collections Libraries call 706.542.7123 or visit www.libs.uga.edu/scl 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Russell Library to Host 2016 Debate Watch

As the campaign season comes to a fever pitch and Election Day draws near, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies will hold two presidential debate watch events this fall for the University of Georgia and Athens communities.
The library will screen the first presidential debate on Monday, Sept. 26 and the third debate on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Both screenings will take place in the auditorium (room 271) of the Russell Special Collections Building with introductions from Paul Gurian, professor of political science.
Gurian retired earlier this year after 30 years in the Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia. His teaching and research has focused on presidential campaign politics, particularly presidential primaries, campaign strategy, and the electoral college. He believes the first presidential debate this year could be critical.
“Usually debates do not change many people’s minds. Most people have already decided who they support. However, this year, there are many people who are still undecided or who are considering voting for a minor party candidate,” said Gurian. That means the stakes are high in this very close race. “The two candidates’ styles are dramatically different, so it is hard to anticipate how they will perform.”
At Monday night’s debate, hosted at Hofstra University in New York, moderators will ask candidates to focus on three topics: the direction of America, achieving prosperity, and securing America. In addition to introducing the debate and framing the three topics, Gurian will also take questions and facilitate brief discussion after the screening. Doors to each event will open at 8 p.m., with discussion at 8:30, and the debate set to begin at 9 p.m. Both events are open free to the public and light snacks and coffee will be served.
The screenings are being co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Georgia Debate Union.
Debate Watch is part of the Ready, Steady, Vote! a series of events spotlighting all things presidential during the 2016 election season.For more information on this event and other programs in the series visit http://www.rbrl.blogspot.com or call (706) 542-5788.

Political Dark Horse

In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.
 
In politics, a dark horse is a candidate who emerges from relative obscurity to win a primary election and, with it, his or her party’s nomination. The term derives, unsurprisingly, from horse racing, and is attributed in its modern use to Benjamin Disraeli’s 1831 novel The Young Duke.

A classic example in Georgia’s political history was the late Governor Lester Maddox, whose only statewide electoral experience when he claimed the governor’s mansion in 1966 consisted of a failed bid for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor in 1962. Maddox owned the infamous Pickrick Restaurant and became known statewide when civil rights activists staged demonstrations outside the whites-only eatery in 1964-65. Ultimately, Maddox chose to close down rather than serve black customers in compliance with the federal Civil Rights Act.

Left: Ellis Arnall campaign brochure. Howard H. (Bo) Callaway Papers, Russell Library.

Entering the race for Governor in 1966, Maddox faced a crowded Democratic primary. The field of candidates included former Governor Ellis Arnall, former Lieutenant Governor Garland T. Byrd, segregationist businessman James H. Gray of Albany, and future Governor and U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Though vocal in his opposition to racial integration and federal civil rights laws endorsed by the Johnson White House, Maddox did not appear any better positioned than Gray or Carter against Arnall. The former Governor seemed to have the advantage, as his was the most recognizable name on the ballot.

In the primary election Arnall led with 29.4% of the vote. Surprising most political observers, Maddox placed second with 23.6%, followed by Carter at 20.9%, Gray with 19.4%, and Byrd trailing behind with a mere 5.1%. In the September 28th runoff, Maddox ran as a hard-line conservative against Arnall, uniting former Gray and Byrd supporters to defeat the progressive former Governor with 54.3% of the vote.


The GOP nominated first-term U.S. Representative Howard “Bo” Callaway, the first Republican to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction and the first Republican nominee for Governor since 1876. As public sentiment in the state continued to turn away from an increasingly liberal national Democratic Party, and Georgians continued to resist federal efforts to desegregate the South, the Republican Party seemed to have new hope in the state. For proof, an observer need look no further than Georgia’s support for Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election, the first-ever Georgia victory for a GOP presidential candidate.

What Happened in the General Election, You Ask?

The dark horse won.

In the general election Callaway identified himself as a “Goldwater Republican” and opponent of the Civil Rights Act. Maddox used his standoff at the Pickrick as a springboard for segregationist martyrdom. Angered by their party’s choice, a number of Democratic activists voted for Arnall as a write-in candidate, ridiculing Callaway’s “Go Bo!” slogan with the retort “Go Bo, and take Lester with you!” On November 8, Callaway made electoral history once again as the first Republican to place first in a Georgia gubernatorial race in almost a century, gaining 46.5% of the vote to Maddox’s 46.2%. Arnall took 7.1% of the total, and since no candidate had won an outright majority the election was thrown to the General Assembly for state legislators to decide on a victor. Because a lopsided majority of legislators were Democrats and had signed party loyalty oaths therein, Maddox was chosen as Governor.

Below: Cover of Savannah Morning News, 29 Sept 1966. Clifford Hodges Brewton Collection of Lester G. Maddox Speech/Press Research Files. 

The Howard H. (Bo) Callaway Collection and Clifford Hodges Brewton Collection of Lester G. Maddox Speech/Press Research Files are filled with great primary resources documenting the 1966 gubernatorial race, as well as what happened to these candidates after the dust settled.

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788



Thursday, September 22, 2016

To Write (In) the Wrong


In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.
 
Around the world, write-in candidates are generally viewed as an American tradition. With a few exceptions – such as the famous and bizarre case of a foot powder winning a mayoral election in Ecuador in 1967 – the United States has pioneered the practice of recognizing votes for write-in candidates, even those for fictional characters like the ever-popular Donald Duck. No fewer than eleven members of Congress – three U.S. Senators and eight U.S. Representatives, including current Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa – have won initial election or reelection due to write-in efforts.

One of the most significant write-in candidacies in Georgia history was that by supporters of Ellis Arnall in the gubernatorial campaign of 1966. Arnall, decidedly the most liberal candidate, had served as Governor during World War II, and during his governorship had lowered Georgia’s voting age to 18 (the first state to do so), paid off the state’s debts, and reformed the state’s higher education system to restore accreditation to Georgia colleges. He had also gained a racially progressive reputation after repealing the poll tax and refusing to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against all-white party primaries.

Left: Letter from Ellis Arnall to Rev. John Morris, 1966. Alvan S. Arnall Collection of Ellis Arnall Materials.

In his 1966 race, a full 20 years after his leaving office, Arnall placed first in the initial all-candidate Democratic election with 29.4% followed by segregationist Lester Maddox  with 23.6%. Arnall ultimately lost the Democratic nomination in a runoff election to Maddox by a vote of 54.3% to 45.7%. With the general election offering a choice between one conservative (Maddox) and another (Republican Bo Callaway), Democrats like the Rev. John Morris – founder of that year’s “Write In, Georgia” committee – whose Great Society and civil rights priorities better aligned with  the national party and the Johnson White House pushed Arnall as an alternative. When Morris notified Arnall in writing of his intention to pursue a write-in option, Arnall responded with less-than-subtle encouragement.

In the end, 69,025 voters wrote Arnall’s name on their ballots, fully 7.1% of the vote and enough to deny both Maddox and Callaway an overall majority (Callaway took 46.5%, Maddox 46.2%). As the General Assembly was empowered to select governors in case no candidate receives a 50% majority, Democratic legislators chose Maddox as their nominee. Arnall returned to his Atlanta law firm, Arnall, Golden & Gregory, never to seek public office again.

Arnall’s write-in candidacy is well documented in John B. Morris Collection that contains correspondence, newspaper articles, newsletters and pamphlets documenting the 1966 Georgia Write-In Movement, including letters between Morris and Arnall (who could not officially show support for the movement because he signed a pledge to support the choice of the Democratic Primary). The collection also documents Morris’s split from the Democratic Party following the write-in campaign, and the formation of the Georgia Democratic Party Forum.

The write-in is also documented in the Harold Paulk Henderson Oral History Collection. This collection consists of interviews conducted by retired political science professor Hal Henderson during his research for a biography of Ellis Arnall. Series I contains interviews that explore the 1966 gubernatorial election and the life of Arnall.

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788.

Monday, September 19, 2016

School Desegregation in DeKalb County, Georgia

Cover of DeKalb County School System
High School Handbook.
Source: Box 19, Folder 3. 
The Russell Library is pleased to announce that the DeKalb County School Desegregation Case Files are open for research. This collection documents litigation to desegregate the DeKalb County Schools from 1968 to 1997 and contains the files of Weekes & Candler, the firm that represented the school district. The files include pleadings, exhibits and other case files, legal research, data collected about the students and staff, and records about the operation of the school system. In addition to documenting the defendant's perspective on this important Georgia case, these files illuminate the evolution of U.S. case law for school desegregation and provides demographic data about the residents of DeKalb County.

Research into legal cases requires a specialized skill set. The Russell Library greatly benefited from the work of Shaniqua Singleton, a graduate student at UGA's School of Law, who delved into the official court records and identified significant moments in the nearly 30 years of litigation. Russell Library archivists also had the opportunity to sit down with Gary Sams and Stan Hawkins, two of the key lawyers for Weekes & Candler on the case, who offered their perspective on the case's history. In this post, I'll share what we learned about the case from both avenues of inquiry.

Photograph of a classroom from the DeKalb County School System
High School Handbook. Source: Box 19, Folder 3.

Legal Research

Litigation in DeKalb County, Georgia, over school desegregation began in 1968 with the filing of a class action lawsuit (Pitts v. Cherry) against the DeKalb County Board of Education to end the practice of racial segregation. In 1969, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia imposed a desegregation plan upon the DeKalb schools and retained authority to oversee the implementation of the plan. The plaintiffs unsuccessfully challenged a portion of the plan in 1979 in the Fifth Circuit Court for not requiring the school district to provide transportation for students attending schools outside of their neighborhoods.

With that ruling, litigation under Pitts v. Cherry was complete, but litigation over other aspects of desegregation continued under the names Freeman v. Pitts and Freeman v. Mills. In 1984, the plaintiffs filed an appeal with the U.S. District Court over plans to build a new high school, claiming this was to avoid the reassignment of white students to predominantly black schools. The District Court ruled that the planned expansion was permissible since the school board's actions were not motivated by discriminatory intent, but their ruling was overturned on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court (which had been formed from a portion of the Fifth Circuit in 1981). The Circuit Court ruled in 1985 that any of the school's expansion plans had to be implemented in a way that "furthers desegregation and helps eliminate the effects of the previous dual school system" and sent the case back to the District Court to evaluate the "segregative" effects of the school board's expansion plan.

The District Court re-evaluated the case in 1988 and found that DeKalb County had not yet been completely integrated, having met four of the criteria for integration (student assignments, transportation, physical facilities, and extracurricular activities) but not meeting requirements in the areas of faculty assignments and resource allocations. The District Court declined to impose additional duties on the school board around student assignment. This ruling was appealed to the Eleventh Circuit in 1989, which reversed the decision and required additional student assignments, as well as requiring the school board to remain under complete court supervision until full integration was achieved.

The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992, which reversed the Eleventh Circuit Court's holding that judicial supervision could not be withdrawn incrementally. Instead, the court could withdraw judicial supervision in areas of compliance while retaining supervision in areas of noncompliance. The case was then sent back to the Eleventh Circuit, and from there to the District Court, for review based on this ruling. In 1996, the case was heard again in the District Court, which ordered the final dismissal of the case in 1997. DeKalb County Schools were declared integrated and therefore the school board no longer required judicial supervision.

Lawyers’ Recollections

Gary Sams and Stan Hawkins, lawyers for the defense, understood the case to have three stages. In the first stage (1969-1972), the District Court made the ruling that DeKalb County Schools must desegregate, as required by Brown v. Board of Education, and the school system went to work on the plan. DeKalb County had the financial ability to close all of the black schools, so they did not have the challenge of resistance from white families who did not want to have their children at historically black schools. With the black schools closed, they reset the attendance boundaries and it seemed like their work was accomplished.

Pamphlet on the M-to-M
(Majority-to-Minority) transfer
program. Source: Box 42, Folder 22
Stage two (1972-1986) began when Roger Mills, a dedicated activist, got involved as attorney for the plaintiff. He kept the case going by his own efforts until the NAACP also got involved. By this time, there was general agreement that the schools should desegregate. The litigation focused on particular arguments about if desegregation had been fully achieved or not, which centered around six factors from Green v.School Board of New Kent County, decided by the Supreme Court in 1968. Efforts were complicated by changes in residential patterns, especially when the completion of I-20 through Georgia led to more African Americans moving into the southern part of the county and more whites moving into the northern part of the county or leaving the county all together. Concerns included the effectiveness of busing students outside of their neighborhoods to achieve desegregation and teachers who did not want to relocate in order to achieve racial balance among the different schools.

The final stage of the case, defined by unitary status hearings, began in 1986. During this stage, the defendants argued that DeKalb County Schools was fully desegregated and that court supervision of the school board should end. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in 1989, although it was delayed until rulings were made for Board of Education of Oklahoma City v. Dowell. Freeman v. Pitts was heard in the Supreme Court in 1992, at which point it was the longest running case in Georgia's history. After a few more years of litigation resulting from the Supreme Court ruling, the case was closed in 1997.

Post by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curation and Processing Archivist

Thursday, September 15, 2016

County Unit, what?

In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.

In several of our recent "political slang" posts we have referred to the County Unit System that operated in Georgia until the 1960s. But, what is the county unit system? A bit more explanation on that system and its impact on Georgia's politics...

Formalized by the Neill Primary Act in 1917, the county-unit system had operated informally in Georgia since 1898 as the method for primary election of statewide office holders. Employing an Electoral College style, the system bolstered the influence of small, rural counties at the expense of more populous urban areas.


Left: Roy V. Harris, a longtime "kingmaker" was a master of the white-only, rural-dominated state politics held up by the County Unit System. A popular saying among Georgians in the 1940s: "What do you need to be elected Governor of Georgia? $50,000 and Roy Harris." Photograph from Ed Friend Visual Materials Collection , Russell Library. 


Each of the 159 counties in the state was classified as urban, town, or rural. Urban counties received six votes each, town counties four, and rural counties two, with a winner-take-all system for the candidate victorious by popular vote within the county. With 410 votes up for grabs statewide, a candidate needed 206 to claim the nomination. The disproportionate distribution of unit votes to population size encouraged heavy campaigning in the 121 rural counties.

Citizens launched unsuccessful constitutional challenges to the system in the 1940s and 1950s, but the courts were reluctant to review apportionment within states. In Baker v. Carr (1962), the Supreme Court established the famous standard “one person, one vote” meaning legislators need to essentially represent the same amount of people. The Tennessee state constitution requires legislative districts be redrawn ever ten years according to the federal census but Tennessee had not redrawn district maps since 1901. In 1960, 2/3 of Tennessee’s representatives were elected by only 1/3 of the state’s population. Amidst pressure from the Civil Rights Movement, the justices upheld the 14th Amendments equal protection under law. State officials were forced to redraw district maps, but they still manipulated boundaries to mitigate the effect of minority voters.

A similar case in Georgia, Gray v. Sanders (1962), pushed the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia to issue an injunction against the system just months before the gubernatorial primary. As a result Carl Sanders, a more liberal urban candidate, became governor in the first statewide popular vote in nearly fifty years, beating out Marvin Griffin.

Above Right: Schedule for redistricting based on 1990 census. C. Donald (Don) Johnson Papers, Russell Library. 

Traces of the county unit system can be found in many of the collections at the Russell Library. A quick keyword search of the collections database results in several hits, many of which touch on public efforts to get rid of the system in the early 1950s.

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Favorite Son: Part II

In anticipation of the November 2016 presidential election, the Russell Library’s Access and Outreach staff has been working on an exhibit, On the Stump: What Does it Take to Get Elected in Georgia? opening September 2nd in the Harrison Feature Gallery. The exhibit considers the evolution of campaigning for state office and asks visitors to imagine life on the campaign trail. This post is one in a series exploring political slang and its role in elections.

In the second installment of our two-part feature, we recount the campaign of the only Georgian ever elected President of the United States: Jimmy Carter. How did Carter transform his deep-fried Dixie image, turning it from a liability into his greatest strength in ’76? Let's see...

By the time of Jimmy Carter’s presidential bid in 1976, times had changed. Though Carter had just finished a term as Georgia’s governor, he was largely unknown on the national scene. Hoping to avoid the regional pigeonholing that had plagued Russell and others from the region, Carter sought endorsements from prominent black politicians, deemphasized his center-right ideological record as governor, and focused on his image as a fresh face with strong ethical credentials. In the post-Watergate political milieu, this marketing proved effective. In the end, his southern personae proved not only palatable but refreshing, helping him to win over voters.

Above: Photo of woman at the Democratic National Convention in New York City, 1976. Democratic Party of Georgia Records, Russell Library.

By the time of his presidential bid in 1976, Democrat Jimmy Carter—Georgia governor from 1970-74—emerged from relative obscurity against a bevy of more experienced and nationally prominent politicians. Along with a slew of Senators, competitors included Arizona Representative Morris Udall, Alabama Governor and 1968 third-party presidential nominee George Wallace and 1972 Democratic vice presidential nominee Sargent Shriver. The only candidate less established than Carter was 37-year-old California Governor Jerry Brown who took up the mantle of “maverick liberal” from the West as part of his strategy against a large diverse contention.



Carter wanted to avoid the regional pigeonholing that had plagued past hopefuls from the Deep South, including Georgia’s own Richard Russell 24 years prior. He was especially wary of seeming like a mild-mannered clone of fellow Southerner Wallace, who had made his name obstructing civil rights laws and promoting segregation in the 1960s. Toward this end, Carter sought the endorsements of prominent black politicians and de-emphasized his center-right ideological record as governor, instead focusing on his image as a “fresh face” with unquestioned ethical credentials.


In the post-Watergate political milieu, this marketing proved effective; Carter startled forecasters by placing second only to “uncommitted” in the Iowa caucuses, with 28 percent of the vote. More shockingly, Carter polled the same in New Hampshire, besting Shriver’s 8 percent. The party establishment was stunned a largely untested candidate from Dixie could win in New England. Carter would win another New England state, Vermont, the next week, though he placed fourth in Massachusetts the same day.


Above: This depicts the "Somebody for President '76 Bandwagon" being driven by a Democratic donkey holding a "Georgia Democratic Forum on Candidates and Issues" sign. Jimmy Carter and Morris Udall are pulling the bandwagon while Milton Shapp, Sargent Shriver, Fred Harris and Birch Bayh are pushing it. Clifford H. (Baldy) Baldowski Editorial Cartoons, Russell Library.

Carter more or less knocked Wallace out of the race after March victories in Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina, establishing himself as the Southern candidate while still beating a nationally popular drumbeat of clean government. By the start of April, Carter’s main threat was Udall, who drew support from constituencies with whom Carter was having trouble “closing the deal”—social liberals in Northern and Western states, many suspicious that Carter was some kind of stalking horse for the party’s old-line Dixiecrat wing. But Carter managed to best Udall in such reputedly liberal places as Wisconsin, D.C., and Connecticut. By then, two more candidates appealing to the “Anyone but Carter” movement, Church and Brown, entered the race and accrued victories in Nebraska, Maryland, and Nevada, while Carter held firm to his Southern base and edged past Udall in labor-heavy Michigan. By then, Carter’s lead in delegates was all but insurmountable even as Church and Brown showed signs of life out West.

Left: Jimmy Carter at a campaign event, 1970. Democratic Party of Georgia Records, Russell Library.

Coming at the tail end of a two-decade period of desegregation and advances in both racial and gender equality, Carter’s victory in claiming the Democratic nomination could be seen as a sign that the dominance of Northern “machine” Democrats had faded. Alternatively, it could have shown that Southerners could win nationwide office in the 1970s by running positive, candidate-focused efforts and overtly eschewing offensive “dog whistle politics.” In any case,Georgia’s native son Jimmy Carter unseated President Gerald Ford in a close election with 50 percent of the popular vote, securing 297 electoral votes.

As in many of the Democratic primaries, Carter dominated the South, losing only one state of the old Confederacy (Virginia). Carter also ran well north of the Mason-Dixon Line, roughly splitting the industrial Northeast and Midwest with Ford (a native of Michigan) and winning such crucial states as New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Just as before, he was weakest west of the Rockies, winning only Hawaii

Want to find out more? Visit On the Stump on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries from September 2, 2016 through August 18, 2017. The Russell Library gallery is free and open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m. For more information, email russlib@uga.edu or call 706-542-5788