Frankly, My Dear…Atlanta’s the Place to Be! In 1830, the U.S. Congress, supported by President Andrew Jackson and opposed by Tennessee congressman Davy Crockett, among others, passed the “Indian Removal Act.” Two years later, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall ruled that the Cherokee Nation, which inhabited the land that was to become Atlanta, ... Features
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Features  |   May 01, 2002
Frankly, My Dear…Atlanta’s the Place to Be!
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Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / ASHA News & Member Stories / Features
Features   |   May 01, 2002
Frankly, My Dear…Atlanta’s the Place to Be!
The ASHA Leader, May 2002, Vol. 7, 4-6. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR.07102002.4
The ASHA Leader, May 2002, Vol. 7, 4-6. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR.07102002.4
The Beginnings
In 1830, the U.S. Congress, supported by President Andrew Jackson and opposed by Tennessee congressman Davy Crockett, among others, passed the “Indian Removal Act.” Two years later, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall ruled that the Cherokee Nation, which inhabited the land that was to become Atlanta, could not be removed without their consent. In 1835, a divided Cherokee Nation signed the treaty that sealed their fate and led to the sad exodus that has become known as “The Trail of Tears.” During the winter of 1838–1839, the Cherokee were routed from their land and forced to march 1,000 miles to Oklahoma. Thousands died before the trail of tears ended.
Meanwhile, plans were being approved in the Georgia General Assembly that would transform Atlanta forever. A new railroad would be built to carry supplies from Georgia to the Midwest. This quiet agrarian society was about to become the busiest hub of transportation in the South, a designation it retains to this day. The original name of the city—“Terminus”—was a fitting reflection of this significance.
In no time, Atlanta became an established railway center with all of the toughness and swagger endemic to new places that promise a quick buck. There was a developing, solid community, yes, but there was also an abundance of brothels, gambling houses, and drinking.
The Civil War and Beyond
Atlanta’s prosperity was its undoing. The city’s resources and location made it an ideal supply route and center of Confederate military operations during the Civil War—a fact that was also obvious to the leaders of the Union forces.
Which brings us back to Capt. Butler and Scarlett. Margaret Mitchell’s famous conflagration scene may have been, in its particulars, a figment of the author’s imagination, but the real Atlanta did indeed burn in 1864. In July, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union Army began the siege of Atlanta. The city had developed with such speed and gained such prosperity and strategic importance to the Confederacy that Sherman determined the only way to remove the threat that Atlanta posed would be to destroy it. He ordered the city burned to the ground.
But first he ordered it evacuated. When the citizens of Atlanta appealed to him to rescind the command, Sherman responded in a carefully worded letter to the mayor and City Council of Atlanta explaining his decision: “You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable.…” He ended his letter by reiterating the order to evacuate: “ Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble, feed and nurse them, and build for them, in more quiet places, proper habitations to shield them against the weather until the mad passions of men cool down, and allow the Union and peace once more to settle over your old homes in Atlanta.”
And then Atlanta burned.
From the ashes rose a very different city from the one that had preceded it. Although the Atlanta that will host ASHA members in November 2002 still retains its place as a vital crossroads—Hartsfield Airport is the busiest in the country, with air transport having displaced railroads as the city’s economic heart after World War II—it is now solidly a modern industrial center. You can still order a mint julep in Atlanta, but only imagine what it might have been like to drink it stretched out on a swing on a hot summer afternoon on the porch of a real Tara.
Near the end of the 19th century there were streetcars in Atlanta, and important companies began to be drawn to the city after the turn of the 20th century. Skyscrapers were built, and suburbs developed along with city neighborhoods—including the “Sweet Auburn” district with its largely African American population, which stubbornly persevered in the midst of segregation and thrived. Carefully planned parks began to appear, and yet more tall office buildings and hotels. Atlanta is now home to Coca-Cola, CNN, Delta Air Lines, UPS, and The Home Depot. And the ASHA Convention is only one of the many that the city hosts each year.
The New Atlanta
Visitors are drawn to Atlanta by its vital neighborhood scene. Downtown is home to the Georgia World Congress Center—the site of ASHA’s Convention and part of the grouping of real estate that includes the CNN Center, the Omni Hotel, the Georgia Dome, and the 21 acres of Centennial Olympic Park, the venue of the 1996 Olympic Games. Downtown is where you’ll also find the State Capitol building, and, for sports fans, the Atlanta Falcons’ Georgia Dome stadium and the Atlanta Hawks’ and Atlanta Thrashers’ Phillips Arena. There’s also the shopping mall known as Underground Atlanta, and close by you can visit the Coca-Cola Museum (which, incidentally, is a lot more interesting than you might think).
The fine shops and restaurants of Buckhead are major attractions of Atlanta, as are the funky second-hand shops of Little Five Points, or Midtown, where you’ll find the Georgia Tech campus and many of the city’s cultural attractions, including the Woodruff Arts Center where the Atlanta Symphony performs.
Atlanta also took its place in history during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Martin Luther King was born there and is buried there. His Ebenezer Baptist Church (recently reopened after a $1.8 million renovation) still remains in the Sweet Auburn district. Later, in 1972, Andrew Young became the first African American representative to Congress since the era of Reconstruction. And, in 1974, Maynard Jackson was elected as the first African American mayor in the United States.
And there’s plenty more—the Atlanta Zoo’s 1,000 animals housed in natural habitats that will welcome you even without a child in tow; Stone Mountain State Park, just a little out of town, featuring the world’s largest relief carving on granite as well as miles of nature trails and spectacular scenery; the Fernbank Museum of Natural History; the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, where the author lived from 1925–1932 and where she wrote most of Gone With the Wind; the fine collection housed in the High Museum of Art in Midtown, home also of “Restaurant Row”; and the quiet peace of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
And, of course, there are all the sights that you’ll discover on ASHA’s tours—information will become available this summer—and through your own explorations of this ever-lively city.
The red carpet is being prepared even as you read this. Make plans to join your colleagues in Atlanta Nov. 21–24 to celebrate “Communication—Our Strongest Link.” Watch The ASHA Leader and the ASHA Web site for more information on sessions, tours, registration and hotel information, and other important highlights of the 2002 ASHA Convention.
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May 2002
Volume 7, Issue 10