Q: This year is the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the University of Georgia. How did it happen?
A: This historic civil rights moment took place in January 1961, when Judge William A. Bootle ordered the school to admit black students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes. The decision on Jan. 6, 1961, ended 160 years of segregation at the school and was the result of a legal battle began in 1950 by Horace T. Ward, who was denied admission to the UGA Law School. The students – who had first applied to the university during summer 1959 – registered for classes on Jan. 9, 1961. But it wasn't a peaceful process, as a mob of students within the first week threw bricks and bottles at Myers Hall, where Hunter lived, causing Athens police to disperse the crowd with tear gas. Hunter and Holmes were brought back to Atlanta by state troopers and told they were being withdrawn from the school, with a school official citing their personal safety and the safety and welfare of the school's 7,000 students. But after an outcry, with more than 400 faculty signing a resolution demanding their return, and a new court order, they came back a few days later. The students graduated in 1963. Holmes became an orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta and passed away in October 1995; Hunter (now Hunter-Gault) became an award-winning journalist. The school has created a website devoted to the desegregation anniversary, at desegregation.uga.edu, which includes details about events, some of which were postponed due to the snowstorm.
Q: When I was snowbound and going stir-crazy in early January, it made me wonder when the most snow has ever fallen in Atlanta at one time.
A: The weather outside sure was frightful earlier this month, but even the snowfall that crippled the metro area in early January didn't set a record. That honor – very non-Hotlanta, as we say – goes to Jan. 23, 1940, when 8.31 inches fell, according to Channel 2 Action News data. Other brrr-inducing snowfalls on record were about 8 inches on March 24, 1983 and 6 inches on Jan. 30, 1936.
Q: It seems like Atlanta has a lot of international visitors. Does Atlanta have more than other cities?
A: Our Southern hospitality charms enough people to make Georgia the second-fastest growing state for international travelers and Atlanta the fastest-growing city, according to government data. The state's 689,000 global guests (not including Canada and Mexico) in 2009 came from countries such as China, Brazil and beyond. Tourists contributed $1.8 billion in direct expenditures to the Georgia economy in 2009, up 4.5 percent over 2008, state data shows. The impact on us locals are new jobs and tax revenue, as the state estimates that every $1 million spent by international visitors creates 11.5 new jobs and generates $33,143 in payroll and $123,588 in state taxes. Our global reach is expanding, with 40 percent more tourists from China last year and 55 percent more in 2009. So looks like it is a small world after all, y'all.
What do you want to know?
If you’re new in town or just have questions about this special place we call home, ask us! E-mail Lori Johnston at email@example.com.
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