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Browse Exhibits (7 total)

Passing the Torch of Activism

The struggle for rights, autonomy, and certain freedoms has been waged throughout human existence, and the torch of activism has been handed down from one generation to the next. Activism is defined as, “the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.” Dr. Martin Luther King inherited the legacy from Gandhi, who used such activist tactics to help end segregation. In light of recent events, such as Ferguson, Missouri, the enduring message of peaceful civil disobediance from Gandhi and King is as relevant as ever.

As George Santayana has been quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” A new generation needs to be mindful of maintaining and preserving these rights that previous generations fought so hard to attain.

Archives are repositories of primary resources. Georgia State University Library’s Special Collections and Archives are filled with information documenting individual and grass roots activism, from correspondence to protest signs. Firsthand accounts in GSU’s oral history collections serve to record activists’ times of “vigorous campaigning.”


See Jane Run! Feminizing Politics in Georgia

American women have always been affected by electoral politics, but their participation as elected officials dates back little more than a century. During the movement for women’s suffrage, some brave women made their principles known by running for office – the first was Elizabeth Cady Stanton in New York in 1866 – and eventually, in the late 1880s and 1890s, a few American women were elected to local or state offices. None were in the South. In 1920, at the time of ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, women in only a few Georgia municipalities had the right to vote (and only in primary elections). With the right to suffrage now guaranteed in the Constitution, more women in Georgia and elsewhere could envision roles in the political sphere – as civic participants and voters, and as policymakers and officials. [Exhibited on the eighth floor of library south, Special Collections]

The "Dawson Five": Crime, Race Relations in Georgia, and the Specter of Jim Crow

On January 22, 1976, Gordon B. Howell went into a convenience store outside Dawson, Georgia to buy some cigarettes. It was the last thing he ever did. Shortly after he entered the store, a group of men came in to rob it, and one of them murdered Howell. Within two weeks, the Terrell County Sheriff Department arrested five young, African American men: Roosevelt Watson, Henderson Watson, J.D. Davenport, Johnny B. Jackson, and James E. Jackson Jr. 

In time, the whole country would know them as the Dawson Five.

The arrest and trial of the Dawson Five sparked a fierce debate about how much had changed in Georgia since the days of Jim Crow. As the case proceeded, Jimmy Carter became the first President from Georgia, and he had sought to convince voters that the South had put the worst of its past behind.  

Details revealed during the case left many people wondering if that was really true. All five suspects were African American, and they claimed that the police— all of whom were white —forced them to confess to a crime they didn’t commit. Millard Farmer, the Dawson Five’s attorney, believed that law enforcement's handling of the suspects reflected a deep, systemic bias among the region's populace. He told reporters, "A kid who is black and lives in Terrell County understands and knows he's going to be mistreated if he's arrested.”

This exhibit draws on the Millard Farmer Papers housed at Georgia State University's Special Collections and Archives to tell the story of the crime, the investigation, and the fight to free five innocent men. In addition to newspaper articles and records kept by Farmer's defense team, the exhibit also lets visitors hear Millard Farmer's personal account of the events, marked In His Own Words. Finally, visitors can submit their own views toward the relationship between race, crime, and the justice system today. 

The History of Radio Broadcasting in Georgia

A friend of mine said the other day: I never listen to radio anymore.....Then I started questioning him and I found that he still listened to radio in the morning when he got up...he still listened in his automobile...He still listened at dinnertime and he still listened when he went to bed....."Come to think of it," said my friend, "I guess I still listen to radio a heck of a lot and didn't realize it." - Promotion Script, ca.1960s

This exhibit documents the history of radio broadcasting in the state of Georgia over a 50 year period from its inception in 1922 through the 1970s.

The exhibit was created by Georgia State University graduate student Sara Patenaude and Popular Music and Culture Archivist Kevin Fleming in conjunction with John Long and Dennis Winslow from the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.  Content and materials used in this exhibit were taken from the Radio Broadcasting Collections housed in the Special Collections and Archives at Georgia State University and from the collections at the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame.

The exhibit was unveiled in October of 2013 coinciding with the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame’s 7th Annual Induction and Awards Ceremony.    

Travel Back In Time

Travel Back in Time………Atlanta has always been a major transportation hub since its inception in 1836 as a railway interchange named “The Terminus”. [i] Travel back in time with the airlines that made Atlanta the transportation hub that it is today, to a bygone era when airline travel was glamorous and exclusive.

[i] Garret, Franklin. Atlanta and Its Environs, pg. 150

Women Don’t Agonize, Organize

The story of Atlanta’s women’s organizations embodies the changes in the roles of women in the United States over the past 150 years. The earliest of these groups in Atlanta were born out of the needs of women leaving the domestic sphere for employment and higher education. By the 1960s and 70s, second wave feminism burst onto the scene, fundamentally reshaping Atlanta’s existing women’s organizations, and sparking the creation of new ones that embraced a more diverse perception of women and their needs.  Here, we tell the story of the evolution and growth of women’s organizations in Atlanta utilizing materials from the Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women’s Movement Collection, the Lucy Hargrett Draper U.S. Equal Rights Amendment (1921-1982) Research Collection, and the Archives for Research on Women and Gender.

The exhibit was created by Georgia State University graduate student Alex McGee.

Banner is based on cover illustration for Ms. Magazine, No. 1, 1972