Georgia Moves into the Modern Era (1945-Present)

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Georgia Moves into the Modern Era (1945-Present)

  1. Paved highways replace dirt roads, allowed people to live in the countryside and work in the city

  2. Subdivisions and shopping centers covered farmland

  • GI Bill- “Government Issue”; series of benefits for military personnel.

  1. 4 years college, low interest loans for homes, farm, or business; $20/wk unemployment and help finding a job

  2. UGA’s enrollment jumped from 1,836 students in 1944 to 6,643 in 1946 (60% were veterans)

  • The disappearing farmer-28,000 farmers left agriculture by 1950

  1. Reasons-farmers before the war now had new opportunities due to GI bill, agriculture was changing due to advances in seed technology, fertilizer, and pesticides; farmers could afford tractors and the days of mule-drawn plows and picking cotton by hand were over

  2. As farming efficiency improved 2 important things happened: crop per acre increased and new equipment allowed more work to be done

  3. Synthetic fibers contributed to clothing (reducing cotton’s need), pine trees replaced cotton growth b/c of paper demand

  • Population shifts-91 of 159 GA counties LOST population. 1.2 million GA born moved to other states. Many were black who migrated North in search of jobs.

  • City growth-businesses came to GA b/c of low state & local taxes, favorable climate, and large transportation hub

Growth & Change in Georgia (1970’s to 1990’s)

  • ATL Metro-grew rapidly b/c of easy access to city

  1. $20 million terminal added to Atlanta Airport

  2. 8 of nation’s 500 largest corporations based in ATL

  • Public & private college institutions contributed to growth

  • Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. launched “Forward Atlanta”

  1. 173 new plants, 323 branches opened (1st 3 yrs)

  2. New professional sports teams

  3. Perimeter expressway around city, 6 four-lane highways, and MARTA

  • 1st black mayor in South was elected (Maynard Jackson, 1973)

  • ‘Sun Belt’ attracted Northerners who were in search of jobs, warmer climates, and cheaper costs of living. No longer waiting until retirement to move south.

  • % of blacks in GA rose instead of falling (1980’s)

  • GA ranks as one of the fastest-growing states in the nation (6th fastest)

Only 8 counties lost population during the ‘80’s; over half GA’s population lives within 60 miles of ATL

Georgia Politics

Gov. Ellis Arnall had worked hard to modernize Georgia and by the end of WWII he was speaking out for equality for black Georgians. Arnall argued that blacks were entitled to equal opportunities. He believed that one way to improve race relations was to attack poverty.

After WWII blacks looked for ways to improve their lives and they looked to political and legal strategies to fight discrimination. In 1946 the Black voters proved that they could make a difference by voting in Helen Mankin, a white woman who ran actively seeking the black vote. Despite the success of registering blacks to vote in Atlanta it was a far different story in the rural areas.

The 1946 Governor’s Race:

  • Former Gov. Eugene Talmadge shocked that Atlanta’s black voters had been successful in the election of Mankin.

  • Talmadge decided he would run for governor again

  • His campaign called for bring back the white primary, maintaining white supremacy and protecting GA from Communists

  • Talmadges campaign was not popular in Atlanta and other large cities

  • Talmadge appealed to the rural voter and was able to win based on the county unit system (which gave most of the power to the rural voters)

The Three Governors Controversy

  • Talmadge was sick and died before taking office so the next highest votes should win and this would call for Carmichael to take the win, but 58 more votes were discovered in the hometown of Talmadge cast for Herman Talmadge, Eugene’s son, this would make Herman the next governor.

  • The Lt. Governor declared himself governor and so did Herman Talmage and Ellis Arnall refused to step down until the controversy was settled.

  • Georgia had three governors

  • Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Lt. Gov. M.E. Thompson to be the next acting governor. Herman pledged to return and he did the very next election in 1948

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