May 23, 1838
1838 On the day Gen. Winfield Scott had told the Cherokees that their emigration to the West had to begin, Pres. Martin Van Buren wrote the governors of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina requesting an extension of two years for completion of the Cherokee removal. Scott’s plans to begin the roundup had to be delayed, as the U.S. troops being sent from Florida had not yet arrived. So, on this day, he enrolled into federal service two regiments of Georgia militia.
May 23, 1861
1861 By a vote of 132,201 to 37,451, Virginia voters approved the Ordinance of Secession adopted by the secession convention on April 17. Assuming that the popular ratification is what made the secession official, this would mean that Virginia was the tenth state to secede. However, because Virginia’s secession was seen by many as critical to the Confederacy’s future, the Confederate Congress apparently felt the April 17 convention vote was good enough, for it went ahead and admitted Virginia to the Confederacy on May 7, 1861.
May 23, 1898
1898 Lawyer, politician, and former Confederate general Henry Rootes Jackson died in Savannah. Born June 24, 1820 in Athens, Ga., Jackson attended the University of Georgia for a while but graduated from Yale University in 1839. After reading law for two years, he was admitted to the bar. In 1844, Jackson was appointed U.S. district attorney, later serving on the Georgia Supreme Court (1849-1853). At this point, Jackson entered the diplomatic service, serving as U.s. minister to Austria (1853-1859. In 1860, he declined the offer to serve as chancellor of the University of Georgia. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Jackson was appointed as a judge of Confederate courts in Georgia. However, he resigned to accept the rank of brigadier general. Jackson was involved in the defense of Savannah and Georgia’s coast. Later, he was assigned to the Confederate force opposing Sherman during his Atlanta Campaign. After the fall of Atlanta, Jackson accompanied Hood to Tennessee, where he and his division were captured at Nashville. After the war, Jackson was president of the Georgia Historical Society (1875-1898), first president of the Telfair Academy, U.S. minister to Mexico (1885-1887), director of the Central Railroad and Banking Co. (1893-98).
May 23, 1913
1913 In Atlanta, a grand jury took only ten minutes to hand down a murder indictment against Leo Frank. No action was taken or requested against Newt Lee. While the evidence against Frank was being presented to the grand jury, Jim Conley had called for detectives and admitted to writing the two notes found near Phagan’s body, but said he wrote them the day before the murder -- upon the order of Leo Frank.
May 23, 1914
1914 Famous writer and Atlanta Constitution columnist Celestine Sibley was born in Holley, Florida. [See Aug. 15 entry for biographical information on Sibley.]
May 23, 1954
1954 Six days after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP announced it intended to follow the advice of the national organization and immediately petition the Fulton County School Board to end segregation of Atlanta’s public schools. Georgia governor Herman Talmadge, however, vowed the state would not abide by the ruling.
May 23, 1976
1976 In caucus voting in Virginia, Jimmy Carter picked up 24 delegates in his bid to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Morris Udall won 7, while the remaining 23 were uncommitted.