Henry W. Grady has been immortalized throughout Atlanta with statues erected in his likeness and public schools that bear his name.
Even with his name, image and legacy leaving an indelible mark on the city, some might not know who Henry Grady is.
Grady, a Georgia native and former managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution, has been heralded for his vision of the “New South” while also condemned for aligning himself with and promoting Georgia leaders who were considered to be white supremacists.
This legacy has come under the spotlight with a recent protest from Georgia State University students requesting a longtime statue of Grady be removed from downtown. Here’s a bit of background on the controversial Georgia political leader and journalist.
5. He was managing editor of one of Atlanta’s prominent newspapers.
As managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution, Grady quickly used his platform to endorse his political views. He wrote in support of antiliquor laws and care for Confederate veterans, according to georgiaencyclopedia.org . Before becoming the Constitution’s editor, his writing style and editorials caught the attention of Evan P. Howell, one of the major stockholders of the Constitution. Howell was so impressed, he decided to offer Grady one-fourth ownership of the paper and the managing editor role.
4. During his time as editor, he promoted several politicians of the time.
Between 1880 and 1886, the Constitution brought awareness to the Atlanta Ring, a loosely connected group of urban, pro-industry Democrats that included Howell and Grady. Beyond Grady’s editorial work, he also threw parties for some candidates that were a part of the Atlanta Ring. In 1883, he supported the nomination of Henry McDaniel as governor, and he later supported John B. Gordon, who had been linked to the Ku Klux Klan, as governor.
3. In 2016, the student newspaper at Grady High School demanded his name be removed from the school’s title.
A midtown high school bears Grady’s name, but the editorial board at Grady High School’s student newspaper sought to change that in 2016. The school’s editorial board said Grady’s views were steeped in white supremacy.
“As a community of individuals from various backgrounds, races and ethnicities, we should not have a name that fails to represent that heterogeneity. More than that, we should not have a name that is counter to the goals of any productive and welcoming school — one that fails to celebrate many cultures and embrace the uniqueness of Atlanta.”
2. He was inducted in the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.
Grady was inducted in the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2004. The hall of fame honors
“Georgia writers, past and present, whose work reflects the character of the state—its land and its people.”
1. The Signal, Georgia State University’s newspaper, released an op-ed this week calling for the removal of his statue in downtown.
A group of Georgia State University students signed an editorial published Tuesday by its student newspaper urging Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms remove a statue of Henry W. Grady from a downtown street and relocate it to the Atlanta History Center.
“By keeping Grady on a literal and figurative pedestal, we continue to celebrate a legacy that is incompatible with Atlanta’s progressive character. Is this truly what ‘the city too busy to hate’ celebrates?”
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