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Saturday, February 13, 2010

100 Years Ago in Georgia

Reading old newspapers between 1900 and 1907 is an interesting way to learn real history. In 1906 there was a hurricane in the Bahamas which wiped out the entire population of a small island. Japan and China were vying for influence and supremacy. Beijing was suspicious of Tokyo's hunger for global expansion and America was on the brink of war. As American politicians veered towards socialism, articles appeared explaining the evils of socialism. Although national and european news dominated front pages, there was also plenty of social news from small towns. What did they say? "Mrs. Smith visited friends in Atlanta this week." Also popular were one-liners, such as special events,
marriage notices, and deaths. A variety of information was scattered throughout, from political news to school graduations, ballgames, crop reports, new buildings, plats of land and estate for sale, legal news including the supreme court and want ads. You have to read it from cover to cover to realize all of the news in play. Year after year grammar schools, high schools, academies, institutes, colleges and universities published names of graduates, those who won medals and special awards, who played in concerts and what instrument, and class photos, even individual student photos. About this time, Georgia Technological Institute in Atlanta formed its baseball team, which is famously known as the Yellow Jackets. Small Georgia towns also had their teams, like Lithonia, Gordon and Mercer. Female colleges were filled with students coming as far away as North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama to attend. Yes, Georgia was educating its daughters! They usually graduated from institutions like Lucy Cobb Institute and Wesleyan Female College at fifteen or sixteen years of age, with sons going on to Georgia Tech, Mercer, University of Georgia and North Georgia Agricultural College. Upon examining census records, one is inclined to observe the box "unable to read or write", however, most children were being educated. In those days, a full high school or college education was not a requirement for finding work. In fact, the work force preferred experience. How things have changed! A one-time cost of $5.99 lets you view
GA Graduates from 1818 to 1907
This collection is growing and will ultimately embrace more years.

Old Cherokee Territory, Alco, Georgia

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