Erwin Mitchell of Dalton, Georgia is proof positive that there are second acts in American lives, and that public service can be a lifetime endeavor of enriching and improving communities. From Solicitor General then Judge on the Cherokee Judicial Circuit, to Congress, and back to Dalton -- public service has been a lifetime endeavor, one that enriches and improves communities.
In 1997 Mitchell lead a campaign to educate the Latino children of Dalton’s public schools. Famous for its thriving carpet industry, Dalton had attracted a Hispanic work force valued by employers but often neglected by the rest of the community. With children caught on the wrong side of a language barrier, Mitchell used his influence and energy to lead the Georgia Project, an initiative which brought teachers from the Universidad de Monterrey in Mexico, to teach not only Latino children but also teach the Anglo teachers how to teach the Latino children. While the Georgia Project is no longer funded, its influence endures in this community.
The Georgia Project Papers were donated by Erwin Mitchell to the Russell Library in February 2009. The video clips included here highlight Mitchell talking about his experience with the Georgia Project, and are excerpted from a 2008 interview of Mitchell by Bob Short, recorded for the Reflections on Georgia Politics oral history series.
For more on the Georgia Project, see this article from the March 1999 issue of UGA’s Georgia Magazine: http://www.uga.edu/gm/399/FeatPos.html
For more information on Erwin Mitchell, click here or visit April's Outside the Box post.
Post by Craig Breaden, Head of Media and Oral History, Russell Library