Kurt's Historic Sites

Atlanta, Georgia capitol

Georgia

Admission to the Union Sequence in Admission Sequence in Capitols I Have Visited
January 2, 1788 4th admitted 25th visited

Photographed March 26, 2022.

My visit to the capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia, holds special meaning to me for two reasons. Firstly, it was my 25th state capitol, which therefore meant my journey to all 50 sites was halfway completed. Secondly, I saw the state house with my friend Angela, whom I was visiting with for the weekend. We had not seen each other since our internship days in Washington, D.C., seven summers prior. Credit for this image of me with the Georgia capitol belongs to Angela.

The capitol building — and all of Atlanta — occupies part of the homeland of the Muscogee Nation, which was forced westward through land cessions to the Federal Government. This marker recounts the site’s history post-colonization, including its time as an encampment for Union troops and the construction of the state house in the 1880s. Several markers, erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1920, give the history of the Battle of Atlanta and related events, as seen from the viewpoint of that organization’s Atlanta chapter.

Photographed March 26, 2022.
Photographed March 26, 2022.

The grounds of the capitol in Atlanta are decorated with statues that commemorate primarily Georgia politicians, from liberals like President Jimmy Carter and Governor Ellis Arnall, to segregationists like Senator Richard B. Russell and Governor Eugene Talmadge. The sculpture shown here is titled Expelled Because of Color. Language on a plaque beside it, provided by sculptor John Riddle, explains the memorial is “dedicated to the memory of the 33 Black state legislators who were elected yet expelled from the Georgia House because of their color in 1868.” Riddle continues that “[t]he cinder block forms at the base of the sculpture symbolize the building of Black political awareness and self-representation in Georgia. Our enslavement, our role in the Revolutionary War, the Black Church, our labor and the right to vote are components of these Black [Georgians’] struggle from the slave ship to the state house.” The base includes the names of the 33 Black state legislators from the Reconstruction Era who were cast out, such as James Sims, Alexander Stone, Monday Floyd, and Tunis G. Campbell, Sr.

Made by sculptor Martin Dawe and dedicated on August 28, 2017, this statue represents one of Georgia’s most noted residents: Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King, Jr. King was born in Atlanta, a little over a mile from the state house. The house of worship he presided over, Ebenezer Baptist Church, is located close by as well, as is the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The organization was founded in 1968 by Dr. King’s widow, activist Coretta Scott King. The Kings are entombed on the premises of the King Center.

Photographed March 26, 2022.

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