Definitions

487 U.S. 654

Georgia (U.S. state)

The State of Georgia is a state in the United States and was one of the original Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. It was the last of the Thirteen Colonies to be established, in 1733. It was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. It seceded from the Union on January 21, 1861 and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be readmitted to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the ninth-largest state in the nation by population, with an estimated 9,544,750 residents as of July 1, 2007. It is also the third-fastest-growing state in terms of numeric gain and fifth in terms of percent gain, adding 202,670 residents at a rate of 2.2 percent. From 2006 to 2007, Georgia had 18 counties among the nation's 100 fastest-growing counties, the most of any state. Georgia is also known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta is the most populous city, and the capital.

Georgia is bordered on the south by Florida; on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and South Carolina; on the west by Alabama and by Florida in the extreme southwest; and on the north by Tennessee and North Carolina. The northern part of the state is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mountain range in the vast mountain system of the Appalachians. The central piedmont extends from the foothills to the fall line, where the rivers cascade down in elevation to the continental coastal plain of the southern part of the state. The highest point in Georgia is Brasstown Bald, 4,784 feet (1,458 m); the lowest point is sea level.

With an area of 59,424 square miles (153,909 km²), Georgia is ranked 24th in size among the 50 U.S. states. Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River in terms of land area, although it is the fourth largest (after Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin) in total area, a term which includes expanses of water claimed as state territory.

Geography

Boundaries

Beginning from the Atlantic Ocean, the state's eastern border with South Carolina runs up the Savannah River, northwest to its origin at the confluence of the Tugaloo and Seneca rivers. It then continues up the Tugaloo (originally Tugalo) and into the Michael River, its most significant tributary. These bounds were decided in the 1787 Treaty of Mexico, and tested in the U.S. Supreme Court in the two Georgia v. South Carolina cases in 1922 and 1989.

The border then takes a sharp turn around the tip of Rabun County, at latitude 35°N, though from this point it diverges slightly south (possibly due to later resurveying with better accuracy). This originally was the Georgia and North Carolina border all the way back to the Mississippi River, until Tennessee was divided from North Carolina, and Alabama and Mississippi (the Yazoo Lands) were taken from Georgia.

The state's western border then departs in another straight line south-southeastward, at a point southwest of Chattanooga, to meet the westernmost point of the Chattahoochee River near West Point, Georgia. It continues down to the point where it ends at the Flint River (the confluence of the two forming Florida's Apalachicola River), and goes almost due east and very slightly south, in a straight line to the origin of the Saint Mary's River, which then forms the remainder of the boundary back to the ocean.

It should be noted that the water boundaries are still set to be the original thalweg of the rivers. Since then, several have been inundated by man made lakes, including the Apalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint point now under Lake Seminole.'

In 2008, Georgia state legislators had claimed that the state's border with Tennessee had been erroneously placed one mile (1.6 km) further south than intended in an 1818 survey, and proposed that the border should be corrected. This would allow Georgia, in the midst of a significant drought, to access water from the Tennessee River.

Geology and terrain

Each region has its own distinctive characteristics. For instance the Ridge and Valley, which lies in the northwest corner of the state, includes limestone, sandstone, shale and other sedimentary rocks, which have yielded construction-grade limestone, barite, ocher and small amounts of coal.

Flora and fauna

Georgia has a diverse mix of flora and fauna. The State of Georgia has approximately 250 tree species and 58 protected plants. Georgia's native trees include red cedar, a variety of pines, oaks, maples, sweetgum and scaly-bark and white hickories, as well as many others. Yellow jasmine, flowering quince, and mountain laurel make up just a few of the flowering shrubs in the state.

Regarding fauna, white-tailed (Virginia) deer can be found in approximately 50 counties. The mockingbird and brown thrasher are just two of the 160 bird species that can be found in the state. The eastern diamondback, copperhead, and cottonmouth as well as salamanders, frogs, alligators and toads are among 79 species of reptile and 63 amphibians that make Georgia their home. The most popular freshwater game fish are trout, bream, bass, and catfish, all but the last of which are produced in state hatcheries for restocking. Dolphins, porpoises, whales, shrimp, oysters, and blue crabs are found off the Georgia coast.

Climate

The majority of Georgia is primarily a humid subtropical climate tempered somewhat by occasional polar air masses in the winter. Hot and humid summers are typical, except at the highest elevations. The entire state, including the north Georgia mountains, receives moderate to heavy precipitation, which varies from 45 inches (1143 mm) in central Georgia to approximately 75 inches (1905 mm) around the Northeast part of the state. The degree to which the weather of a certain area of Georgia is subtropical depends not just on the latitude, but also on how close it is to the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico and the altitude. This is especially true in the mountainous areas in the northern part of the state, which are further away from ocean waters and can be up to 4500 feet (1350 m) or higher above sea level.

The areas near the Florida/Georgia border, extending from the entire Georgia coastline west to the Florida panhandle, experiences the most subtropical weather, similar to that of Florida: hot, humid summers with frequent afternoon thunderstorms and mild, somewhat drier winters. These areas experience snow much less frequently than other parts of Georgia. The Georgia Piedmont area is somewhat cooler in winter than the coastal areas. The southern areas of the Piedmont may receive snow every other year, while areas close to the foothills get snow several times a year. This part of Georgia is especially vulnerable to ice storms. The mountains of Georgia have the coolest climate and most frequent snowfall in the state, although snowfall is less than any other part of the Appalachian Mountains.

In spite of having moderate weather compared to many other states, Georgia has occasional extreme weather. The highest temperature ever recorded is 112 °F (44.4 °C), while the lowest ever recorded is -17 °F (-27.2 °C). Georgia is one of the leading states in incidents of tornadoes. The areas closest to the Florida border get the same small F0 and F1 tornadoes associated with summer afternoon thunderstorms. However, it is very uncommon for tornadoes to become severe (over F3). A tornado hit downtown Atlanta on Friday, 14 March 2008 causing moderate to severe damage due to all the broken glass on the skyscrapers. The SEC basketball tournament and a few conventions were ongoing at the time of impact and some injuries occurred due to the amount of people downtown. As it is on the Atlantic coast, Georgia is also vulnerable to hurricanes, although the Georgia coastline only rarely experiences a direct hurricane strike. More common are hurricanes which strike the Florida panhandle, weaken over land, and bring strong tropical storm winds and heavy rain to the Georgia interior, as well as hurricanes that come close to the Georgia coastline, brushing the coast on their recurvature on the way up to hit The Carolinas.

In 2006 and 2007, however, Georgia has had severe droughts. Temperatures over 100 degrees have been recorded.

Monthly average daily high and low temperatures for major Georgia cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Athens 51/11
33/1
56/13
35/2
65/18
42/6
73/23
49/9
80/27
58/14
87/31
65/18
90/32
69/21
88/31
68/20
82/28
63/17
73/23
51/11
63/17
42/6
54/12
35/2
Atlanta 52/11
34/1
57/14
36/2
65/18
44/7
73/23
50/10
80/27
60/16
86/30
67/19
89/32
71/22
88/31
70/21
82/28
64/18
73/23
53/12
63/17
44/7
55/13
36/2
Augusta 56/13
33/1
61/16
36/4
69/21
42/6
77/25
48/9
84/29
57/14
90/32
65/18
92/33
70/21
90/32
68/20
85/29
62/17
76/24
50/10
68/20
41/5
59/15
35/2
Columbus 57/14
37/3
62/17
39/4
69/21
46/8
76/24
52/11
83/28
61/16
90/32
69/21
92/33
72/22
91/32
72/22
86/30
66/19
77/25
54/12
68/20
46/8
59/15
39/4
Macon 57/14
34/1
61/16
37/3
68/20
44/7
76/24
50/10
83/28
59/15
90/32
67/19
92/33
70/21
90/32
70/21
85/29
64/18
77/25
51/11
68/20
42/6
59/15
36/2
Savannah 60/16
38/3
64/18
41/5
71/22
48/9
78/26
53/12
84/29
61/16
90/32
68/20
92/33
72/22
90/32
71/22
86/30
67/19
78/26
56/13
70/21
47/8
63/17
40/4
Temperatures are given in °F/°C format, with highs on top of lows.

Protected lands

Georgia is home to 63 parks, 48 of which are state parks and 15 that are historic sites, and numerous state wildlife preserves, under the supervision of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Other historic sites and parks are supervised by the National Park Service and include the Andersonville National Historic Site in Andersonville; Appalachian National Scenic Trail; Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area near Atlanta; Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park at Fort Oglethorpe; Cumberland Island National Seashore near Saint Marys; Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons Island; Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah; Jimmy Carter National Historic Site near Plains; Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park near Kennesaw; Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site in Atlanta; Ocmulgee National Monument at Macon; Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

History

Early history

The local moundbuilder culture, described by Hernando de Soto in 1540, completely disappeared by 1560. Early on, in the course of European exploration of the area, a number of Spanish explorers visited the inland region of Georgia.

The conflict between Spain and England over control of Georgia began in earnest in about 1670, when the English founded the Carolina colony in present-day South Carolina. Nearly a century earlier, the Spanish of Spanish Florida had established the missionary provinces of Guale and Mocama on the coast and Sea Islands of present-day Georgia. After decades of fighting, the Carolinians and allied Indians permanently destroyed the Spanish mission system during the invasions of 1702 and 1704. After 1704, Spanish control was limited to St. Augustine and Pensacola, both in nowaday's Florida. The Florida peninsula was subjected to raids as far as the Florida Keys. The coast of Georgia was occupied by now British-allied Indians such as the Yamasee until the Yamasee War of 1715-1717, after which the region was depopulated, opening up the possibility of a new British colony. In 1724, it was first suggested the British colony there be called Province of Georgia in honor of King George II.

British interest in establishing a colony below South Carolina came from varied sources. Spanish Florida was a threat to South Carolina and a haven for runaway slaves. The French in the 1720s established a fort near present-day Montgomery, Alabama, also a threat to British interests in the region. Traders from Charleston, South Carolina, had established trading posts as far west as the Ocmulgee River, near present-day Macon, Georgia. The British trading network kept the Creek Indians allied with them; the French move threatened to wrest these Indians' trade away from the British. These strategic interests made the British government interested in establishing a new colony that would reinforce the British influence in the border country that had been open to Spanish and French penetration.

Meanwhile, many members of the British Parliament had become concerned about the plight of England's debtors. A parliamentary committee investigated and reported on conditions in Britain's debtor prisons. A group of philanthropists organized themselves to establish a colony where the "worthy poor" of England could reestablish themselves as productive citizens. This goal was seen as both philanthropic, helping these distressed people, and patriotic, simultaneously relieving Britain of the burden of the imprisoned debtors and augmenting Britain's vital mercantile empire by planting new, industrious subjects to strengthen her trade. This goal went unfulfilled as Georgia was ultimately not settled by debtors or convicts.

In 1732, a group of these philanthropists were granted a royal charter as the Trustees of the Province of Georgia. They carefully selected the first group of colonists to send to the new colony. On 12 February 1733, 113 settlers aboard the Anne landed at what was to become the city of Savannah. This day is now known as Georgia Day, which is not a public holiday but is observed in schools and by some local civic groups. James Edward Oglethorpe, one of the trustees of the colony, traveled with the first group of colonists, laid out the design of the town of Savannah, and acted as governor of the colony, although technically under the trustees there was no "governor." Oglethorpe acted as the only trustee present in the colony. When he returned to Britain, a series of disputes ended his tenure governing the colony; Georgia was then led by a series of presidents named by the trustees.

At the time Georgia was founded in 1732, the number of non-English immigrants to the colonies was at an all time high. Although religious toleration was not valued in itself, the pragmatic need to attract settlers led to broad religious freedoms. South Carolina wanted German Lutherans, Scottish Presbyterians, Moravians, French Huguenots and Jews, whom they valued as a counter to the French and Spanish Catholic and absolutist presence to the south. When the Moravians turned out to be pacifists who refused to serve in the colonial defense, they were expelled in 1738. Catholics were denied the right to own property. Jewish immigrants fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, which was being carried out by the Spanish colonies in the New World, were allowed in after some debate, owing to the leadership of James Oglethorpe. In 1733, over forty Jews fleeing persecution arrived in Savannah, the largest such group to enter an American colony up to that time. Among them was Dr. Samuel Nunez, who was the first doctor in Georgia. He immediately showed his value as a citizen by playing an invaluable role in curbing an epidemic that had already killed scores of settlers, and was credited with saving the colony by General Oglethorpe. In 1752, after the government failed to renew subsidies that had helped support the colony, the Trustees turned over control to the crown. Georgia became a crown colony, with a governor appointed by the British king. However, even after Georgia eventually became a royal colony (1752), there were so many dissenters (Protestants of minority denomiations, that is, non-Anglican) that the establishment of the Church of England was successfully resisted until 1752. These dissenting churches were the mainstay of the Revolutionary movement, culminating in the War for Independence from Britain, through the patriotic and anti-authoritarian sermons of their ministers, and the use of the churches to organize rebellion. Whereas the Anglican Church tended to preach stability and loyalty to the Crown, other Protestant sects preached heavily from the Old Testament and emphasized freedom and equality of all men before God, as well as the moral responsibility to rebel against tyrants.

Georgia was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution by signing the 1776 Declaration of Independence, despite a large population of people loyal to the crown. During the war, nearly one-third of the slaves, more than 5,000 enslaved African Americans, exercised their desire for independence by escaping and joining British forces, where they were promised freedom. Some went to Great Britain or the Caribbean; others were resettled in Canada provinces. Other estimates show an even greater impact from the war, when slaves escaped during the disruption. "The sharp decline between 1770 and 1790 in the proportion of the population made up of blacks (almost all of whom were slaves) [went] from 45.2 percent to 36.1 percent in Georgia.

Following the war, Georgia became the fourth state of the United States of America after ratifying the United States Constitution on 2 January 1788. Georgia established its first state constitution in 1777. The state established new constitutions in 1788, 1799, 1861, 1865, 1868, 1877, 1945, 1976, and 1983, for a total of 10 — more constitutions than any other state, except for Louisiana, which has had 11.

Confederate history

On January 18, 1861, Georgia joined the Confederacy and became a major theater of the American Civil War. Major battles took place at Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, and Atlanta. In December 1864, a large swath of the state from Atlanta to Savannah was destroyed during General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea. This event served as the historical background for the 1936 novel Gone with the Wind and the 1939 film of the same name. On July 15, 1870, following Reconstruction, Georgia became the last former Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union.

Capitals

Georgia has had five official state capitals: colonial Savannah, which later alternated with Augusta; then for a decade at Louisville (pronounced Lewis-ville); and from 1806 through 1868, including during the American Civil War, at Milledgeville. In 1868, the capital was moved to the new city of Atlanta — one with a better access by railroad — and it became the fifth capital city of the state. It remains so to the present. The state legislature also met at some other temporary sites, including Macon, especially during the turmoil of the War.

Cities

The largest city, Atlanta, is located in north-central Georgia, atop a ridge southeast of the Chattahoochee River. The Atlanta metropolitan area has a population of 5,278,904 (2007 census estimate), though the city proper has around 519,000 people.

The state of Georgia has twenty metropolitan and micropolitan areas with populations above fifty-thousand. In descending order, they are Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Columbus, Macon, Athens, Gainesville, Albany, Dalton, Warner Robins, Valdosta, Brunswick, Rome, Hinesville, LaGrange, Statesboro, Dublin, Milledgeville, Waycross, and Calhoun.

Ten largest cities

Demographics

In 2006, Georgia had an estimated population of 9,363,941 which was an increase of 231,388 from the previous year, and an increase of 1,177,125 since 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 438,939 people (that is 849,414 births minus 410,475 deaths) and an increase from net migration of 606,673 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 228,415 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 378,258 people.

As of 2006, Georgia is the 9th most populous state. Its population has grown 44.5% (2,885,725) since 1990, making it one of the fastest-growing states in the country. Beginning with the 1990s, Georgia took over as the fastest-growing state in the South with a 26% population increase during the decade, surpassing its neighbor Florida which had held the title for every decade in the 20th century prior to the 90s. More than half of the state's population lives in the Atlanta metro area. Nineteen Georgia counties were among the 100 fastest growing counties from 2004 to 2005. The center of population of Georgia is located in Butts County, in the city of Jackson.

Race, language, and age

According to the U.S census, Georgia's population is as follows: 62.01% White, 29.91% Black, 2.78% Asian American, 1.24% multiracial, 0.23% American Indian or Alaskan Native, 0.05% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 3.77% of some other race. Additionally, 7.64% are of Hispanic or Latino descent (of any race).

As of 2005, 90% of Georgia residents age 5 and older speak only English at home and 5.6% speak Spanish. French is the third most spoken language at 0.9%, followed by German at 0.8% and Vietnamese at 0.6%. As of 2004, 7.7% of its population was reported as under 5 years of age, 26.4% under 18, and 9.6% were 65 or older. Also as of 2004, females made up approximately 50.6% of the population and African Americans made up approximately 29.6%.

Historically, about half of Georgia's population was composed of African Americans who, prior to the Civil War, were almost exclusively enslaved. The Great Migration of hundreds of thousands of blacks from the rural South to the industrial North from 1914-1970 reduced the African American population. This population has since increased, with some African Americans returning to the state for new job opportunities. Today, African Americans remain the most populous race in many rural counties in middle, east-central, southwestern, and Low Country Georgia, as well as in the city of Atlanta and its southern suburbs. According to census estimates, Georgia ranks third among the states in terms of the percent of the total population that is African American (after Mississippi and Louisiana) and third in numerical Black population after New York and Florida. Georgia was the state with the largest numerical increase in the black population from 2006 to 2007 with 84,000.

As of 2005, approximately 2.7% of Georgia's population was Asian American. Georgia is the nation's third-fastest growing area for Asians, behind only Nevada and North Carolina. Asian buying power in the state was $8.1 billion this year, up from $1.1 billion in 1990, according to statistics from the University of Georgia's Selig Center for Economic Growth.

White Georgians, like other Southerners, usually describe their ancestry on the census questionnaire as "American", "United States", or simply "Southern". The colonial settlement of large numbers of Scots-Irish Americans in the mountains and piedmont, and coastal settlement by English Americans and African Americans, have strongly influenced the state's culture in food, language and music.

The concentration of Africans imported to coastal areas in the 18th century repeatedly from rice growing regions of West Africa led to the development of Gullah-Geechee language and culture in the Low Country among African Americans. They share a unique heritage in which African traditions of food, religion and culture were continued more than in some other areas. In the creolization of Southern culture, their foodways became an integral part of all Southern cooking in the Low Country.

Religion

Like most other Southern states, Georgia is largely Protestant Christian. The religious affiliations of the people of Georgia are as follows:

Georgia shares its Protestant heritage with much of the Southeastern United States. However, the number of Roman Catholics is growing in the state because of the influx of Northeasterners resettling in the Atlanta metro area and also because of large Hispanic immigration into the state.

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Southern Baptist Convention with 1,719,484; the United Methodist Church with 570,674; and the Roman Catholic Church with 374,185.

Georgia's Jewish community dates to the settlement of 42 mostly Sephardic Portuguese Jews in Savannah in 1733. Atlanta also has a large and established Jewish community.

Economy

Georgia's 2006 total gross state product was $380 billion. Its per capita personal income for 2005 put it 10th in the nation at $40,155. If Georgia were a stand-alone country, it would be the 28th largest economy in the world.

There are 15 Fortune 500 companies and 26 Fortune 1000 companies with headquarters in Georgia, including such names as Home Depot, UPS, Coca Cola, Delta Air Lines, AFLAC, Southern Company, and SunTrust Banks. Georgia has over 1,700 internationally headquartered facilities representing 43 countries, employing more than 112,000 Georgians with an estimated capital investment of $22.7 billion.

Agriculture and industry

Georgia's agricultural outputs are poultry and eggs, pecans, peaches, peanuts, rye, cattle, hogs, dairy products, turfgrass, tobacco, and vegetables. Its industrial outputs are textiles and apparel, transportation equipment, cigarettes, food processing, paper products, chemical products, electric equipment. Tourism also makes an important contribution to the economy. Georgia is home to the Granite Capital of the World (Elberton). Atlanta has been the site of enormous growth in real estate, service, and communications industries.

Atlanta has a very large effect on the state of Georgia and the Southeastern United States. The city is an ever growing addition to communications, industry, transportation, tourism, and government. Food is also a major industry in Georgia.

Industry in Georgia is now quite diverse. Major products in the mineral and timber industry include a variety of pines, clays, stones, and sands. Textile industry is located around the cities of Rome, Columbus, Augusta, and Macon. Atlanta is a leading center of tourism, transportation, communications, government, and industry. Some industries there include automobile and aircraft manufacturing, food and chemical processing, printing, publishing, and large corporations. Some of the corporations headquartered in Atlanta are: Arby's, Chick-fil-A, The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia Pacific, Hooters, ING Americas, Cox, and Delta Air Lines. Major corporations in other parts of the state include: Aflac, CareSouth, Home Depot, Newell Rubbermaid, Primerica Financial Services, United Parcel Service, Waffle House and Zaxby's.

Several United States military installations are located in Georgia including Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Airfield, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Fort Benning, Moody Air Force Base, Robins Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Atlanta, Fort McPherson, Fort Gillem, Fort Gordon, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Coast Guard Air Station Savannah and Coast Guard Station Brunswick. However, due to the latest round of BRAC cuts, Forts Gillem and McPherson will be closing and NAS Atlanta will be transferred to the Georgia National Guard.

Energy use and production

Georgia's electricity generation and consumption are among the highest in the United States, with coal being the primary electrical generation of fuel. However, the state also has two nuclear power plants which contribute less than one fourth of Georgia's electricity generation. The sstatistics are 75% coal, 16% nuclear, 7% oil and natural gas, and 1% hydroelectric/other. The leading area of energy consumption is the industrial sector because Georgia "is a leader in the energy-intensive wood and paper products industry".

State taxes

Georgia's personal income tax ranges from 1% to 6% within six tax brackets. There is a 4% state sales tax, which is not applied to prescription drugs, certain medical devices, and groceries. Each county may add up to a 2% SPLOST. Counties participating in MARTA have another 1%; MARTA is the only major metropolitan rapid transit authority in the U.S. not to receive state funding. The city of Atlanta (in two counties, roughly 90% in Fulton and 10% in Dekalb) has the only city sales tax (1%, total 8%) for fixing its aging sewers. Local taxes are almost always charged on groceries but never prescriptions. Up to 1% of a SPLOST can go to homestead exemptions (the HOST). All taxes are collected by the Georgia Department of Revenue and then properly distributed according to any agreements that each county has with its cities.

Culture

Fine and performing arts

Georgia's major fine art museums include the Georgia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Michael C. Carlos Museum, the Morris Museum of Art and the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. The Atlanta Opera is a full time company that brings opera to Georgia stages. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is the most widely recognized orchestra and largest arts organization in the southeastern United States. Moreover, almost all of the universities, colleges, and junior colleges in Atlanta provide some musical instruction.

Literature

Georgia literature is distinct among the literature of other places in the world in its historical and geographical context and the values it imparts. Dramas such as the play (on which a successful movie was also based) Driving Miss Daisy are one example of Georgia's literary culture. The most popular and famous novel has probably been Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, also the basis of a wildly successful movie. Other authors who challenged popular ideas were Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor. Contemporary authors such as Alice Walker have also used Georgia's complex past as subjects for fiction, as in her The Color Purple.

Georgia's poets, such as James Dickey and Sidney Lanier, and nonfiction writers like humorist Lewis Grizzard also have a place in the state's literary life.

Entertainment

Music

Music in Georgia ranges from folk music to rhythm and blues, rock and roll, country music and hip hop. The Georgia Music Hall of Fame, located in Macon is the state's museum of music. Georgia's folk musical traditions include important contributions to the Piedmont blues, shape note singing and African American music. The Sacred Harp, compiled and produced by Georgians Benjamin Franklin White and Elisha J. King, was published in 1844. The Sacred Harp system use notes expressed with shapes to make it easy for people to learn to sight-read music and performed complex pieces without a lot of training.

The city of Athens, Georgia, home to the University of Georgia has been a fertile field for alternative rock bands since the late 1970s. Notable bands from Athens include R.E.M., The Black Crowes, The B-52s, Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, as well as bands from the Elephant 6 Recording Company most notably Neutral Milk Hotel.

Rock bands such as Norma Jean, The Chariot, With Blood Comes Cleansing, Counting Crows, Underoath, The Knife Trade, and Mastodon all hail from Georgia.

Rhythm and Blues is another important musical genre in Georgia. Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia. Augusta native James Brown and Macon native Little Richard, two important figures in R&B history, started performing in Georgia clubs on the chitlin' circuit, fused gospel music with blues and boogie-woogie to lay the foundations for R&B and soul music, and rank among the most iconic musicians of the 20th century. In the 1960s, Atlanta native Gladys Knight proved one of the most popular Motown recording artists, while Otis Redding, born in the small town of Dawson but raised in Macon, defined the grittier Southern soul sound of Memphis-based Stax Records. Opera singer Jessye Norman is native to Augusta.

Collective Soul, a hard rock band known for their song "Shine", are from Stockbridge, Georgia.

Atlanta has become a central player in hip hop as the home of artists Outkast. Ludacris, T.I., and Young Jeezy and producers Jermaine Dupri and Jazzy Pha. Atlanta is also home to multiple R&B and neo soul artists including India Arie, Ciara, Bobby Brown, and Usher.

Film

Hundreds of feature films have been located in Georgia. By 2007 more than $4 billion had been generated for the state's economy by the film and television industry since the 1970s. Such films include Deliverance; Smokey and the Bandit; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Driving Miss Daisy and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, with settings ranging from Appalachia to the manicured squares of Savannah. Due to the success of Deliverance, as governor Jimmy Carter established a state film commission, now known as the Georgia Film, Video and Music Office, in 1973 to market Georgia as a shooting location for future projects. The commission had recruited more than 550 major projects to the state by 2007. Actress Julia Roberts is one of the most well-known natives of Georgia.

Popular culture

Stereotypical Georgian traits include manners known as "Southern hospitality", a strong sense of community and shared culture, and a distinctive Southern dialect. Georgia's Southern heritage makes turkey and dressing a traditional holiday dish during both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Movies like Gone with the Wind and the book If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground by Lewis Grizzard highlight Georgia culture, speech and mannerisms.

Girl Scouting in the United States of America began on March 12, 1912 when Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia.

Health care and education

Health care

Georgians can find medical and dental care "via 151 general hospitals, more than 15,000 doctors and nearly 6,000 dentists. The state is ranked forty-first in the percentage of residents who engage in regular exercise.

Education

Georgia high schools (grades nine through twelve) are required to administer a standardized, multiple-choice End of Course Test, or EOCT, in each of eight core subjects including Algebra I, Geometry, U.S. History, Economics, Biology, Physical Science, Ninth Grade Literature and Composition, and American Literature and Composition. The official purpose of the tests is to assess "specific content knowledge and skills." Although a minimum test score is not required for the student to receive credit in the course, completion of the test is mandatory. The EOCT score comprises 15% of a student's grade in the course.

High school students must also receive passing scores on four Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) and the Georgia High School Writing Assessment in order to receive a diploma. Subjects assessed include Mathematics, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies. These tests are initially offered during students' eleventh-grade year, allowing for multiple opportunities to pass the tests before graduation at the end of twelfth grade.

Georgia is home to almost 70 public colleges, universities, and technical colleges in addition to over 45 private institutes of higher learning.

The HOPE Scholarship, funded by the state lottery, is available to all Georgia residents who have graduated from high school with a 3.0 or higher grade point average and who attend a public college or university in the state. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition and provides a stipend for books for up to 120 credit hours. If the student does not maintain a 3.0 average while in college they may lose the scholarship in which case they will have the chance to get it back by bringing their grade point average above a 3.0 within a period of 30 credit hours. This scholarship has had a significant impact on the state university system, increasing competition for admission and increasing the quality of education.

Transportation

Transportation in Georgia is overseen by the Georgia Department of Transportation, a part of the executive branch of the state government. Georgia's major Interstate Highways are I-75 and I-85. Other important interstate highways are I-95, I-20, I-24 and I-59. I-285 is Atlanta, Georgia's perimeter route and I-575 connects with counties in north Georgia on I-75. Major freight railroads in Georgia include CSX and Norfolk Southern. Passenger service in Georgia is available on two Amtrak routes: the Crescent, which runs from New York to Washington, D.C., through north Georgia and Atlanta to New Orleans and the other runs from New York to the Georgia coast and from there to Florida.

Georgia's principal airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the world's busiest passenger airport. Georgia has one hundred seven public-use airports, nine of which are commercial-aviation airports and ninety-eight which are general-aviation airports. Two of the state's important airports are Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, which serves over 1,700,000 passengers each year and DeKalb Peachtree Airport in Chamblee, Georgia.

Interstate highways

United States highways

North-south routesEast-west routes

Law and Government

State government

The capital of Georgia is Atlanta. As with all other U.S. States and the federal government, Georgia's government is based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial power. Executive authority in the state rests with the governor, currently Sonny Perdue (until 2011) (Republican). Perdue is the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. (See List of governors of Georgia). Both the governor and lieutenant governor are elected on separate ballots to four-year terms of office. Unlike the federal government, but like many other U.S. States, most of the executive officials who comprise the governor's cabinet are elected by the citizens of Georgia rather than appointed by the governor.

Legislative authority resides in the General Assembly, composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate, while the House of Representatives selects their own Speaker. The Georgia Constitution mandates a maximum of 56 senators, elected from single-member districts, and a minimum of 180 representatives, apportioned among representative districts (which sometimes results in more than one representative per district); there are currently 56 senators and 180 representatives. The term of office for senators and representatives is two years.

State judicial authority rests with the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, which have statewide authority. In addition, there are smaller courts which have more limited geographical jurisdiction, including State Courts, Superior Courts, Magistrate Courts and Probate Courts. Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the Court of Appeals are elected statewide by the citizens in non-partisan elections to six-year terms. Judges for the smaller courts are elected by the state's citizens who live within that court's jurisdiction to four-year terms.

See also: List of governors of Georgia and Georgia elected officials

Local government

Georgia has 159 counties, the most of any state except Texas (with 254). Before 1932, there were 161, with Milton and Campbell being merged into Fulton at the end of 1931. Counties have been named for prominent figures in both American and Georgian history. Counties in Georgia have their own elected legislative branch, usually called the Board of Commissioners, which usually also has executive authority in the county. Several counties have a Sole Commissioner government, with legislative and executive authority vested in a single person. Georgia is the only state with Sole Commissioner counties. Georgia's Constitution provides all counties and cities with "home rule" authority, and so the county commissions have considerable power to pass legislation within their county as a municipality would.

Besides the counties, Georgia only defines cities as local units of government. Every incorporated town, no matter how small, is legally a city. Georgia does not provide for townships or independent cities (though there is a movement in the Legislature to provide for townships) but does allow consolidated city-county governments by local referendum. So far, only Columbus, Augusta, Athens, and Cusseta have done this. Conyers is studying possibly becoming consolidated with Rockdale County. Recently, Savannah has consolidated its police department with the county police department and is currently studying possible consolidation with Chatham County.

There is no true metropolitan government in Georgia, though the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Regional Transportation Authority do provide some services, and the ARC must approve all major land development projects in metro Atlanta.

Politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2004 57.97% 1,914,254 41.37% 1,366,149
2000 54.67% 1,419,720 42.98% 1,116,230
1996 47.01% 1,080,843 45.84% 1,053,849
1992 42.88% 995,252 43.47% 1,008,966
1988 59.75% 1,081,331 39.50% 714,792
1984 60.17% 1,068,722 39.79% 706,628
1980 40.95% 654,168 55.76% 890,733
1976 32.96% 483,743 66.74% 979,409
1972 75.04% 881,496 24.65% 289,529
1968* 30.40% 380,111 26.75% 334,440
1964 54.12% 616,584 41.15% 522,557
1960 37.43% 274,472 62.54% ''458,638
*State won by George Wallace
of the American Independent Party,
at 42.83%, or 535,550 votes

Until recently, Georgia's state government had the longest unbroken record of single-party dominance of any state in the Union. This record was established partly by disfranchisement of most blacks and many poor whites in the early 20th century, lasting into the 1960s.

After Reconstruction, white Democrats regained power, especially by legal disfranchisement of most African Americans and many poor whites through erection of barriers to voter registration. In 1900, shortly before Georgia adopted a disfranchising constitutional amendment in 1908, blacks comprised 47% of the state's population. A "clean" franchise was linked by Progressives to electoral reform. White, one-party rule was solidified. To escape the oppression, tens of thousands of black Georgians left the state, going north in the Great Migration for jobs, better education for their children and the chance to vote.

For over 130 years, from 1872 to 2003, Georgians only elected white Democratic governors, and white Democrats held the majority of seats in the General Assembly. Most of the Democrats elected throughout these years were Southern Democrats or Dixiecrats who were very conservative by national standards. This continued after the segregationist period, which ended legally in the 1960s. According to the 1960 census, the proportion of Georgia's population that was African American had decreased to 28%. After civil rights legislation under President Johnson secured voting and civil rights in the mid-1960s, most African Americans in the South joined the Democratic Party.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Georgia made significant changes in civil rights, governance, and economic growth focused on Atlanta. It was a bedrock of the emerging "New South." This characterization was solidified with the election of former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976 to the U.S. Presidency.

The political dominance of Democrats ended in 2003, when then-Governor Roy Barnes was defeated by Republican Sonny Perdue, a state legislator and former Democrat himself. It was regarded as a stunning upset. While Democrats retained control of the State House, they lost their majority in the Senate when four Democrats switched parties. They lost the House in the 2004 election. Republicans now control all three partisan elements of the state government.

In recent years, many conservative Democrats, including former U.S. Senator and governor Zell Miller, have decided to support Republicans. The state's socially conservative bent results in wide support for such measures as restrictions on abortion. Even before 2003, the state had become increasingly supportive of Republicans in Presidential elections. It has supported a Democrat for president only three times since 1960. In 1976 and 1980, native son Jimmy Carter carried the state; in 1992, the former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton narrowly won the state. Generally, Republicans are strongest in the predominantly white suburban (especially the Atlanta suburbs) and rural portions of the state. Many of these areas were represented by conservative Democrats in the state legislature well into the 21st century. Democrats do best in the areas where black voters are most numerous, mostly in the cities (especially Atlanta) and the rural Black Belt region that travels through the central and southwestern portion of the state.Georgia is often described as "The Red state with the blue dot in the middle", reffering to Atlanta and Decatur, where there are dense concentrations of liberals.

As of the 2001 reapportionment, the state has 13 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which are currently held by 7 Republicans and 6 Democrats.

Media

Television

Georgia is home to Ted Turner, who founded TBS, TNT, TCM, Cartoon Network, CNN and Headline News, among others. The CNN Center, which houses the news channel's world headquarters, is located in downtown Atlanta, facing Marietta Street, while the home offices of the Turner Entertainment networks are located in midtown, near the Georgia Tech campus, on Techwood Drive. A third Turner building is on Williams Street, directly across Interstate 75 and Interstate 85 from the Techwood Drive campus and is the home of Adult Swim and Williams Street Studios.

The Weather Channel's headquarters are located in the Smyrna area of metropolitan Atlanta in Cobb County.

WSB-TV was the state's first television station, and the southeastern United States' second. WSB-TV signed on Channel 8 in 1948, and moved to its present day location on Channel 2 in 1952.

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) operates nine major educational television stations across the state as Georgia Public Broadcasting Television.

Movies

Atlanta is home to Tyler Perry Studios and Rainforest Films. Tyler Perry has produced several #1 films including Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion, Why Did I get Married and Meet the Browns. Atlanta often referred to as Black hollywood because of the number of films with African American cast marketed to African Americans produced in the city.

Radio

WSB-AM in Atlanta was the first radio station in the southeastern United States, signing on in 1922. The station currently broadcasts a news/talk format. WSB-FM signed on in 1948 on 104.5 FM, and moved to 98.5 FM in 1952. The station broadcasts today, still with the WSB-FM callsign, but is known as "B98.5FM".

Georgia Public Radio has been in service since 1984 and, with the exception of Atlanta, it broadcasts daily on several FM (and one AM) stations across the state. 1984. Georgia Public Radio reaches nearly all of Georgia (with the exception of the Atlanta area, which is served by WABE), as well as portions of Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Newspapers and periodicals

There are several major newspapers in Georgia. Among them are the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Augusta Chronicle. Other media publications in the state include business magazines; Atlanta is also home to Upscale a African American entertainment and lifestlyle magazine;entertainment media such as Southern Voice; and various sports magazines.

Sports and recreation

Sports in Georgia include professional teams in all major sports, Olympic Games contenders and medalists, collegiate teams in major and small-school conferences and associations, and active amateur teams and individual sports. The State of Georgia has a team in eight major professional leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, ABA, AFL, IL, and ECHL). Georgia has an abundance of outdoor recreational activities. Outdoor activities include, but are not limited to, hiking along the Appalachian Trail; Civil War Heritage Trails; rock climbing and whitewater paddling. Other outdoor activities include hunting and fishing. Less rustic activities are trips to Callaway Gardens; circuses; Rattlesnake Roundups; and Zoo Atlanta.

State facts and symbols

Georgia's nicknames include Peach State and Empire State of the South. The state song, "Georgia On My Mind" by Hoagy Carmichael, was originally written about a woman of that name, but after Georgia native Ray Charles sang it, the state legislature voted it the state song on 24 April 1979. Ray Charles sang it on the legislative floor when the bill was passed. This act was significant in that it symbolized to many the move away from segregation and racism. The state commemorative quarter was released on 19 July 1999. The first houses in Georgia to be designated historic state landmarks are the Owens Thomas House and the Sorrel Weed House, in the Savannah historic district. The state 'possum is Pogo Possum.

See also

References

  • Walker, V. (2005). "Organized resistance and black educators' quest for school equality", 1878-1938. Teachers College Record, 107, 355-388.

Further reading

  • New Georgia Encyclopedia (2005)
  • Bartley, Numan V. The Creation of Modern Georgia (1990). Covers 1865-1990 period. ISBN 0-8203-1183-9.
  • Coleman, Kenneth. ed. A History of Georgia (1991). ISBN 0-8203-1269-X.
  • London, Bonnie Bullard. (2005) Georgia and the American Experience Atlanta, Georgia: Clairmont Press ISBN 1-56733-100-9. A middle school textbook.
  • Peirce, Neal R. The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States (1974). Information on politics and economics 1960-72. ISBN 0-393-05496-9.

External links

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