April 1, 1812
1812 Politician and abolitionist Tunis Campbell was born in Middlebrook, New Jersey. Campbell was a highly intelligent, well-educated African American who early on became an abolitionist after studying to be a missionary. Initially rejected for military service in the Civil War, Campbell finally served near the war’s end on Hilton Head Island, S.C. In 1865 he was appointed military governor of five of Georgia’s sea islands, where he provided schools for freed blacks and began implementing Sherman’s order distributing land to blacks. In 1867, Campbell was appointed a voting registrar and bought a plantation in McIntosh County, which he used as a home for freed blacks. In 1868, he was elected a delegate to Georgia’s constitutional convention. He was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1869, but was among the blacks expelled from the General Assembly on the grounds that Georgia’s constitution did not specifically allow blacks to hold public office. In Washington D.C., Campbell’s protest of his expulsion helped lead to a second phase of military reconstruction for Georgia. Campbell finally took his Georgia Senate seat in 1870 and was re-elected in 1871. But his militancy in advocating black rights had made him many enemies. Campbell was arrested in 1874 and spent the next few years as a leased convict. After being released in 1877, he and his family moved to Washington, D.C., then to Boston, where he became involved in missionary work. He died in Boston on Dec. 4, 1891.
April 1, 1870
1870 After a two-day stay in Augusta, Robert E. Lee and his daughter arrived in Savannah to be greeted by thundering ovations. The ailing 63-year-old hero had come to Savannah for a brief vacation in hopes of restoring his declining health. Arriving at the home of his host, Gen. Alexander Lawton, Lee was greeted with cheering crowds and two brass bands that played such songs as "Dixie," "Hail to the Chief," and "The Bonnie Blue Flag" late into the night. Unable to sleep with all the celebration outside, Lee finally had to depart out the back door and spend the night at the home of Andrew Low.
April 1, 1893
1893 Musician and educator Hugh Hodgson was born in Athens, Ga.. By age four, he showed a unique talent for the piano -- and by age fourteen he was studying piano in Europe. Hodgson returned home to attend the University of Georgia, where he played tennis and majored in zoology while continuing his music interests. In 1915, Hodgson played in New York’s Carnegie Hall. He was an organist for a number of Athens churches before being appointed director of music at the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens in 1925. Here he began giving informal lectures and recitals of music -- not only to the students at the Institute but to anyone who wanted to listen. Thus began a lifelong devotion to bringing music to common people. In 1928, Hodgson became a professor at the University of Georgia, heading the newly created Department of Music (a position he held until his retirement in 1960). While at the University, he won numerous awards and taught and influenced countless students. Hodgson continued his efforts to popularize various forms of music by presenting an annual opera, organizing a Little Symphony Orchestra, directing the Men’s Glee Club, establishing chamber music festivals, and performing recitals and delivering lectures nationwide. Even after his retirement, Hodgson remained active as a church musician and guest professor and performer. Atlanta Constitution editor Ralph McGill praised Hodgson by writing: "Hugh Hodgson is to music what Johnny Appleseed was to the Northwest and its orchards. He burns with a passion to make music available to everyone." Hodgson died in Atlanta on Aug. 12, 1969. The concert hall at the University of Georgia’s School of Music is named in his honor.
April 1, 1925
1925 Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in Warm Springs, Georgia for his third visit to the state he would later call his "second home." While visiting, he penned a series of nine editorials for the Macon Telegraph.
April 1, 1929
1929 Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College formed the Atlanta University system and agreed to share facilities. Later, Clark College and Morris Brown would join later, making the complex the largest African-American consortium of higher education in the United States.
April 1, 1939
1939 Atlanta Braves famed knuckleball pitcher Phil Niekro was born in Blaine, Ohio. On Aug. 3, 1997, Niekro was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
April 1, 1988
1988 Nell Jackson, a pioneer in women’s track and field, died. Born July 1, 1929 in Athens, Ga., she attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. While a student there, she was a member of the U.S. Olympic track team.In 1951, Jackson also competed in the first Pan-American Games, taking second place in the 200-meter race and serving on the first-place sprint relay team. Later, she held the U.S. 200-meter record. Jackson became women’s track coach at Tuskegee, Illinois State, Illinois, and Michigan State. Jackson was head coach of the women’s U.S. Olympic team in 1956 and 1972 -- becoming the first African American to serve as head coach of a U.S. Olympic team. Jackson served many atheletic organizations, including the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Amateur Athletic Federation. She went on to become director of physical education at the State University of New York in Binghamton.
April 1, 1995
1995 DeKalb County’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History opened its "Great Dinosaurs of China" exhibit.