May 31, 1783
1783 In Augusta, a portion of the Lower Creeks signed the Treaty of Augusta ceding Creek lands between the Ogeechee and Oconee rivers to Georgia. The next year, the Georgia legislature began creating counties in the ceded lands. However, because of doubts as to the legality of the treaty and the opposition of chief Alexander McGillivrary and his followers, official cession of the contested land did not occur until the Treaty of New York in 1790.
May 31, 1818
1818 Editor Joseph Clisby was born in Medford, Massachusetts. Clisby was a successful newspaper editor in Florida before he purchased the Macon Telegraph in 1855. He was a pioneer in modern journalism, believing newspapers should communicate news, not shape public opinion. To better achieve this goal, he transformed the Telegraph from a weekly to a daily in 1860. His coverage of the Civil War was much more even-handed than most newspapers of his day, though like so many Southerners, he became embittered as the war neared its end. Poor health and the loss of his son spurred him to sell the Telegraph in 1864, though he returned as editor in 1868. Now he encouraged the South to accept defeat and look forward, primarily by searching for ways to improve the area’s prominently agricultural economy. Clisby also supported public education and was a member of Bibb County’s first board of public education. A stroke left him an invalid in 1881, and he died at home in Macon on Feb. 26, 1885.
May 31, 1864
1864 Radical members of the Republican Party held a national convention in Cleveland, Ohio and nominated John C. Fremont for president. [Born in Savannah, Fremont had been the first presidential nominee of the new Republican Party in 1856.] The convention also adopted a platform calling for a single term for the president, direct election of the president by the people, placing Congress -- not the president -- in charge of reconstruction, and confiscation of property owned by those in rebellion. In accepting the nomination, Fremont repudiated the confiscation provision.
May 31, 1913
1913 Preparing to prosecute Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan, solicitor Hugh Dorsey interviewed suspect Jim Conley for two hours . Conley was then returned to police headquarters so where he would be readily available for further questioning. The police believed Frank was guilty of Phagan’s murder, but they were still concerned over "flaws and rough places" in Conley’s story.
May 31, 1913
1913 The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for the popular election of U.S. senators, was declared officially ratified.
May 31, 1930
1930 Atlanta golfing great, Bobby Jones, captured the first leg of golf’s Grand Slam by winning the British Amateur golf tournament. [See March 17 entry for biographical information on Jones.]
May 31, 1934
1934 Georgia politician Ronald "Bo" Ginn was born in Morgan, Ga. He graduated from Georgia Southern College. In 1972, Ginn was elected as U.S. Representative from Georgia’s First District, serving from Jan. 1973 to Jan. 1983. In 1982, he unsuccessfully ran for the office of governor. He died January 6, 2005.
May 31, 1955
1955 The U.S. Supreme Court issued its second decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. The first decision in 1954 had declared that the "separate but equal" doctrine for public education violated the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment but was silent on how quickly a remedy must take effect. The second Brown decision answered that question by saying that integration of Topeka, Kansas’ public schools must take place "with all deliberate speed." As much as the first Brown decision upset white political leaders in Georgia, it was the second decision that precipitated the most angry reaction. An interposition movement spread through much of the South, and Georgia governor Marvin Griffin would introduce a "massive resistance" package of legislation to resist integration at the 1956 session of the General Assembly.
May 31, 1971
1971 Georgia governor Jimmy Carter appeared on the cover of Time magazine, with the caption "Dixie Whistles a Different Tune."
May 31, 1984
1984 The U.S. Postal Service issued 10-cent Richard Russell stamp with first day of issue ceremonies at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder.
May 31, 2003
2003 Eric Rudolph, suspected (and later admitted) to be the man responible for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing, as well as abortion clinic bombings in Georgia and Alabama, was areested in North Carolina.