Friday, March 27, 2015

School Lunch Challenge Tomorrow!

Our School Lunch Challenge event is happening tomorrow at Barrow Elementary School! We're excited to see what menu items our local chefs have dreamed up for the competition.

C.J. Gaan with UGA's Grady News Source put together this short piece spotlighting the event, interviewing organizer Jan Hebbard (outreach archivist at the Russell Library) and competing chef Emmanuel Stone, who will be representing The National.

Take a look - and we hope to see you tomorrow! Tickets for the event are sold out, but if you'd like a spot on the waiting list email -- we'll notify waitlisters by the end of the day today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

“Talking Pickup Truck Blues”: Senator Miller’s Defense of an American Icon

During his political career, Zell Miller often drew inspiration from his love for music and his Appalachian roots to make a political point. A prime example transpired during his term in the U.S. Senate when, in protest of rising fuel economy standards and the consequently rising cost of pickup trucks, he combined both strategies, writing a song with musician friend Cowboy Jack Clement called "The Talking Pickup Truck Blues".

The situation was this: for the 2002 Energy Bill, Congress was debating raising CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. The idea was to reduce foreign oil dependence and promote environmental well-being by requiring better fuel economy. Pickup trucks were grouped together with SUVs and vans as vehicles that got poor gas mileage. Miller leapt to their defense through the Miller-Gramm Amendment, which prohibited increasing CAFE for pickups over the then-current 20.7 miles per gallon standard. He and Clement got imaginative and wrote "The Talking Pickup Truck Blues" to highlight what he saw as out-of-touch D.C. confusing the working vehicle of America's heartland with fancy SUVs.

Jack Clement (left) and Zell Miller (right), in the early 1990s.
(Source: Series VI. Box 7, Folder 83)
Miller's defense of pickups came in two different forms. The first mixed rural pride and the economy. In a floor statement he said the pickup was "the very symbol of the working man. As the pickup goes, so goes the working man and the very heart of this country….The pickup is for the man who wants to work, who gets his hands dirty, and if he can't afford his pickup, then farms, construction companies, and rural small businesses will go under, hurting the American people and the American economy.”

The other defense appealed to the politicians' own self-interest. Miller characterized pickup truck owners as “pickup pops,” in contrast to soccer moms, an arguably powerful voting demographic. The tailgate of a pickup, as Miller saw it, was the “think tank of rural America,” with men gathering at the end of a hard day's work to discuss all manner of affairs. Miller warned that if D.C. raised the price of those trucks, the full force of that group would be devoted to ousting all current politicians from their seats.

Miller made a floor statement on March 6, 2002 in support of his amendment using both arguments and even quoting from his song (listen to a clip of the quoted verse). He ended with the last line of the song: "So help us Lord, and let there be a little wisdom in D.C."  Whether it was concern for the heartland, the economy, their jobs, or divine intervention that convinced the senators, his amendment passed (56 for, 44 against) and the pickup was safe for now.

Zell Miller's senatorial papers were recently processed and are open for research at the Russell Library.

Pickup truck with "Zell Miller for Governor '94" sign.
(source: Series VI., Box 11, Folder 
Post by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curation and Processing Archivist, Russell Library 

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Rest of the Story Book Club Meets Tomorrow (3/24)

What: March Meeting, The Rest of the Story Book Club
When: Tuesday, March 24, 5:30-7:00PM
Where: Room 258, Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries

Have you ever visited an exhibit and felt you only heard the first part of a truly great story?

If you’re a visitor who wants to learn more about the exhibitions at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries, then join us for this monthly book club with light refreshments and discussion on works connected to upcoming/ongoing exhibitions and programs here at SCL. The monthly titles are selected (and discussions led) by Special Collections staff who help to create these displays/programs, and invite readers to learn more about the topics explored and to take them into new, related areas of interest.

March’s Selection: Revolutionizing Expectations: Women’s Organizations, Feminism, and American Politics, 1965-1980 by Melissa Estes Blair.

Monthly selections are available for purchase at Avid Bookshop, or for checkout through the UGA Libraries. This program is free and open to the public, co-sponsored by the University of Georgia Libraries and The University of Georgia Press.

For more information please call (706) 542-5788 or email Jan Hebbard at

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Too Am UGA Event Friday @ Russell Library

The Russell Library's First Person Project has partnered with I Too Am UGA to document diversity on university campuses as part of a national, student-driven campaign. 

The purpose of #ITooAmUGA is to provide students the opportunity to have their stories heard and to advocate for campus diversity and inclusivity for all populations. Students and all participants in the campaign have had their personal stories recorded and archived by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

The group will host a screening of this ongoing video project with light refreshments this Friday, March 20th at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium (room 271) of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. For more information visit the facebook event page  or check out the article in today's Red and Black.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Marge Thurman: Rock of Georgia

Photograph of Marge Thurman from
The Georgia Democrat, 1974
Carl Sanders called her the “Rock of Gibraltar.” Ted Kennedy said that she walked with the wind. And Jimmy Carter, despite their long-running feud, said that she would be remembered for her dedication and leadership. Marge Thurman’s premature death in 1982 drew an outpouring of sympathy from state and national Democratic leaders in support of the woman who had led the Democratic Party of Georgia for almost a decade.

In 1974, Governor-elect George Busbee appointed Thurman the Chairman of the state party, shepherding Democrats through an important transition period for the party, state, and nation. She led the party as they initiated democratizing reforms that reflected major changes in the social and political landscape. Some of the most important and modernizing changes included the creation of an affirmative action committee, the adoption of the first state party charter, and the revision of the delegate selection process for national nominating conventions.

Thurman between Lt. Governor-elect Zell Miller
and Governor-elect George Busbee on the cover
of The Georgia Democrat, 1974

Before she became the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Rock of Gibraltar, Thurman was a youthful and enthusiastic political activist. An Atlanta native, she graduated from Emory University and, at 21 years old, earned a Master’s degree from the Atlanta Law School. In 1956, she joined an all-female law practice in Atlanta and got her first exposure to politics as a Fulton County Young Democrat. A year later, Thurman began her affiliation with the state party when she served as a Young Democratic Committeewoman. That same year, she was elected as general counsel for the Young Democrats of America -- the first woman to hold the position.

Governor Carl Sanders appointed Thurman to the position of Democratic National Committeewoman in 1963. In 1972, however, Governor Jimmy Carter removed her from that position, presumably because she supported Sanders over Carter in his 1970 bid for governor. It was said that after Carter attempted to have her removed, she not only refused but brought boxing gloves to the press conference to indicate her willingness to fight! The heated exchanges continued even after Carter became President. Thurman was said to have removed Carter from the program at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in 1981 because Carter had her dropped as a delegate to the DNC in 1980. The feud between Carter and Thurman lasted for over a decade and is illustrative of how colorful Georgia politics could get.

Though she originally had been appointed by Governor Busbee, changes in party procedures found Thurman elected by party members in 1978, confirmation of her decisive leadership and long-term commitment. She was said to have been the first Chairman to have “earned the job through years of grassroots party work” (The Georgia Democrat, 1974). Her dedication secured her status as a loyal, dependable and determined Georgia Democrat. One anecdote in particular became the stuff of legend. During the 1960s, every four years the party held its state convention in Macon. In 1966, when Thurman discovered at the last minute that her driver’s license had expired, she hailed a cab from her home in Atlanta and calmly instructed the driver to take her to Macon. She had a state convention to attend and she was going to get there, no matter the individual cost.

Marge Thurman stands with Col. Charles W. Scott
at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in 1981. In the
back, from left, stands Walt Bellamy and an
unidentified man. 
In 1981, Thurman was elected to serve as president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs. Had she lived, she likely would have been elected to a third term as Chairman.

Thurman was a major figure in state and national Democratic politics and was mourned by many upon her death at age 59. Obituaries for Thurman quoted several national political figures, such as Charles Manatt, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who recalled debating with her when they were both Young Democrats. In one article following her death, Henry Topel, president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, remarked that “When it came to civil rights for minorities, to equal opportunity for women, to the Democratic Party principles of help to the poor, she stood second to none. It was said in Georgia that her heart was as big as her hairdo and that was true for us all.”

The Democratic Party of Georgia Records include a significant amount of material --  memoranda, correspondence, planning documents, committee records, convention files, and speech materials -- directly related to Marge Thurman and her tenure as Chairman. The records show a Chairman involved in all aspects of the state party organization. She supported her team and led reform efforts during a transformative period. Once researchers begin to explore these records, they will yield much new information and historical insight into this era, Georgia politics, and women in politics.

Post by Angelica Marini, Project Archivist, Russell Library

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Taking on Poverty: Senator Miller's Idea for Empowering the South

Zell Miller went straight for a significant issue with his first piece of major legislation as a U.S. Senator: combating systematic, multi-generational poverty in the South. Inspired by the transformation he witnessed as a boy growing up in Appalachia from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), his bill provided $250,000 for a study to assess if a commission focused on a region known as the Black Belt was needed. The money was matched by Macon businessman Benjamin W. Griffith III to allow for a more thorough investigation.

The term Black Belt was coined in 1901 by Booker T. Washington to refer to a swath of rural southeastern counties stretching from Virginia down to Georgia and west to Texas that had previously been known for cotton production and historically has had a high proportion of African Americans.
Item 1
Excluded from the ARC and the Delta Regional Authority, this area was getting left out of Federal aid. Miller thought it was time to change that, comparing the conditions to the  "Third World" (The Hill, August 8, 2001).

The study, officially called the "Study of Persistent Poverty in the South," was conducted by the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government to look back at 20 years of data from the region. Compared to the national average, they found higher poverty rates, lower levels of education, and poorer health going back generations. Georgia was disproportionately affected, being home to 25% of the poor in the Black Belt.

Item 2
With evidence from the report clearly pointing to a need in the region, Miller introduced the Southern Regional Commission Act of 2003 (S.527) to the 108th Congress on March 5, 2003. The bill created the Southern Regional Commission with a funding of $40 million a year for fiscal years 2004 through 2008. The focus would be on education, health, housing, transportation, technology, and infrastructure. The report was so compelling that two competing bills were introduced to address the same problems: the Southern Empowerment and Economic Development (SEED) Act (HR 678) proposed by Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama and the SECA (South East Crescent Authority) (HR 3618) sponsored by Congressman Mike McIntyre of North Carolina.

Item 3
In the end, none of these bills made it into law. Miller's bill was referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where no further action was taken. Davis introduced the SEED Act on three different occasions, and the SECA legislation was introduced four times in the House by McIntyre and twice in the Senate by Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. In all cases, the bills were referred to committees but never came up for a vote.

Item 1: Map showing the African-American Population as a percentage of the total population in the Southern Black Belt, 2000 (source: Box V.86, Folder 20)

Item 2: Map of Georgia: counties in red are areas of persistent poverty, counties in blue are covered by the Appalachian Regional Commission, 2003 (source: Box V.86, Folder 25)

3. Cover of the Study on Persistent Poverty in the South, 2002 (source: Box V.86, Folder 27)

Zell Miller's senatorial papers were recently processed and are now open for research.

Post by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curation and Processing Archivist, Russell Library 

Monday, March 09, 2015

Friday, March 06, 2015

A Tribute to Albert Maysles

This post, written by archivist Craig Breaden, was originally published on this blog in 2009. Today, our staff learned of the passing of director Albert Maysles and wanted to repost this entry to highlight his short career in politics.   

Two jewels in the Russell Library's collection of campaign ads come from the Carl Sanders collection. In 1970 Sanders ran a losing race against Jimmy Carter, whose populist message effectively countered the image Sanders cultivated: the cool competence of a former governor and skilled attorney. The Sanders 1970 campaign, unsuccessful as it may have been, yielded some of the more interesting political ads ever televised.

In 1969 Sanders hired the Burton Campbell Advertising Agency to develop his public image. One of Burton Campbell's chief creative writers was Hugh Wilson (who would later find great success as writer and producer of WKRP in Cincinnati). Wilson was enamored with the work of the Maysles brothers, creators of "direct cinema" documentaries whose art was elevating the ordinary or, conversely, bringing the extraordinary back down to earth (check out the Gimme Shelter or Grey Gardens, two of their masterpieces). Wilson hired Albert Maysles to shoot the ads, and in the summer of 1969 Maysles followed Sanders for four days, shooting five hours of film. Two longer commercials were edited from this footage, with, as Sanders's confidante Judge Norman Underwood put it, "impressive but not persuasive" results. Hugh Wilson put it this way: "I'm the man who got Jimmy Carter elected governor of Georgia." For a look at the commercials, check out this playlist on the Russell Library Audiovisual Collections YouTube Page.

Craig Breaden's longer article on the Sanders/Maysles campaign ads, "Carl Sanders and Albert Maysles: Direct Cinema meets Georgia Politics, 1969" appears  in the Fall 2009 issues of
The Journal of the Moving Image from the Association of Moving Image Archivists.

Documentary Screening, Yuck!

Join the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies on Saturday, March 21st from 4:00-5:00PM in the auditorium of the Special Collections Libraries Building (300 S. Hull Street) for a free community screening of Yuck!, a short documentary film chronicling fourth grader Zachary’s efforts to document the school lunch offered in his New York City public elementary school. The film will be followed by a discussion about school lunch in the Athens area. Doors open at 1:45.

This screening is connected to the Russell Library’s ongoing exhibition, Food, Power, Politics: The Story of School Lunch, on display in the Harrison Feature Gallery through August 2015. For more information call (706) 542-5788 or email

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

We're Having a Food Fight!

Are you ready for a good food fight?

Then we hope you'll join us on Saturday, March 28th in the cafeteria of Barrow Elementary School (100 Pinecrest Drive) as local chefs take on the School Lunch Challenge -- creating tasty dishes that meet USDA requirements for the National School Lunch Program for attendees to sample!

Building on the increased public interest in school lunches, and inspired by the ongoing exhibition, Food, Power, Politics: The Story of School Lunch currently on display in our gallery, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the Clarke County School District, the Athens Land Trust, Athens Farm to School, and UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences have partnered to plan a fun, educational event to engage the Athens community with the past, present, and future of the National School Lunch Program. 

The centerpiece of this event will be a cooking competition which invites participating teams, drawn from local restaurants and non-profit organizations, and advised by members of the Clarke County School District (CCSD) nutrition staff, to create dishes in accordance with USDA guidelines for the National School Lunch Program. Each team will create plates including meat/meat alternate, grain, and vegetable components that can appeal to a K-12 audience. Event attendees will be invited to a sample-size serving of each plate created, and will vote for a crowd favorite in each category. A panel of student judges drawn from CCSD schools will vote to determine an overall winner. The winning team’s plate will be incorporated into the CCSD school lunch menu during the 2015-2016 school year.

Attendees can also pick up information and talk to local representatives about sustainable agriculture, community gardens, and farm to school programs in the Athens community, and explore a display of materials related to the history of the National School Lunch Program. 

Competing teams will include The National, Heirloom CafĂ© and Fresh Market, newly opened Goodie Two Shoes, and the non-profit Athens Land Trust. Each team has been paired with one of the four local middle schools, and encouraged to incorporate that school’s colors, mascot, or other identifying features into their dish or plate presentation. The event will be free to the public but attendance will be capped at 150 people. Tickets are available through the Eventbrite website

Members of the planning committee hope parents and families associated with the local school system, as well as community groups and individuals interested in school lunch and related food initiatives will come out to the event. But, they hope that anyone who has a passion for healthy, delicious food will join the fun. 

“We hope to engage the Athens community with the topic of school lunch, providing some information about the history of the program, and helping to connect that history to the ongoing changes to the program through recent legislation on the federal level,” said organizer Jan Hebbard, outreach archivist at the Russell Library. “Hopefully this is a chance for community members to have some fun and also get a better understanding of school lunch locally, especially ongoing efforts to incorporate community gardens and local produce into cafeterias in CCSD.”

For more information, contact Jan Hebbard at or (706) 542-5788. To obtain tickets visit