September 18, 1812
1812 Politician and judge Herschel Johnson was born in Burke County, Georgia. Graduating from the University of Georgia in 1834, he subsequently read law and was admitted to the bar in Augusta before year’s end. There, and later in Louisville and Milledgeville, Johnson had a successful law career--though also becoming active in politics. When Georgia Senator Walter Colquitt resigned his seat in Congress in 1848, Gov. George Towns appointed Johnson to serve the remaining year in Colquitt’s term. In 1849, the Georgia General Assembly elected Johnson to serve a superior court judge for the Ocmulgee circuit. Four years later, Johnson was elected governor, and reelected in 1855. At the end of his second term, Johnson temporarily retired from politics and returned to his plantation in Jefferson County. In 1858, the General Assembly honored Johnson by naming a new county in his honor. In 1860, Johnson was persuaded to run as Democratic presidential candidate Stephen Douglas’s running mate. After their loss to Republican Abraham Lincoln, Johnson unsuccessfully opposed Georgia’s secession. Nevertheless, in 1862, the General Assembly elected him to represent Georgia in the Confederate Senate. After the war, the legislature again named Johnson as a superior court judge, a post he held until his death on Aug. 16, 1880.
September 18, 1815
1815 Future Confederate general Henry C. Wayne was born in Savannah, Ga. [For biographical information on Wayne see March 15 entry.]
September 18, 1818
1818 Future Confederate general Marcellus Augustus Stovall was born in Sparta, Ga. [See Aug. 4 entry for biographical information on Stovall.]
September 18, 1864
1864 Gen. John Bell Hood directed his Confederate troops to begin moving out of Lovejoy’s Station, where they had been resting during Sherman’s occupation of Atlanta. What was left of Hood’s forces after the disastrous Atlanta Campaign headed west towards the Atlanta & West Point Railroad.
September 18, 1895
1895 At sunset from his home in Massachusetts, Pres. Grover Cleveland pressed an electric switch that sent a message to Atlanta activating a steam machine and signaling soldiers to fire their batteries of cannon to officially open the Cotton States and International Exposition. Held in Piedmont Park, the exposition featured 6,000 exhibits, many of which were intended to promote Atlanta and Georgia. Also participating were a host of famous personalities, including Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show and John Philip Sousa, who composed the "King Cotton" march for the event and performed with his band for three weeks. The exposition, which lasted until December 31, attracted 800,000 visitors and both national and international press coverage.
One of the most significant events of the opening day occurred at the Negro Building, where Booker T. Washington gave his famous "Atlanta Compromise" speech. In his remarks, Washington called on fellow blacks to accept their status for the time being and concentrate instead on improving their education and skills. Full equality would come in time, he predicted, when blacks were ready. Expectedly, many whites would praise Washington’s remarks, while many blacks--notably W.E.B. DuBois--would not. Regardless of the speech, however, the Cotton States and International Exposition was the first major American public event to feature a prominent role for African Americans.
September 18, 1898
1898 Six weeks after getting drenched by a sudden storm during a review of Confederate veterans substituting for her ill father, former Confederate president Jefferson Davis, Winnie Davis died in her family’s summer home in Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island. Davis was widely known throughout the South as the "Daughter of the Confederacy" -- a title she acquired when Georgian John B. Gordon introduced her by saying, "Fellow countrymen, your late president is unable to greet you, but here is his daughter. Our daughter, the daughter of the Confederacy." After her death, the new Georgia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy decided to honor her with a new women’s dormitory at the State Normal School for Teachers in Athens. Winnie Davis Hall continued in this role until the U.S. Navy purchased the Normal School property in 1953 and converted it from a dormitory to a building for administrative offices for its new Supply Corps School.
September 18, 1981
1981 After two years of work by a select committee on constitutional revision, the Georgia General Assembly approved a joint resolution proposing a new constitution for the state of Georgia. That document -- which would become known as the Constitution of 1983 -- was approved by voters in the Nov. 1982 general election. Georgia’s tenth -- and current -- state constitution went into effect July 1, 1983.
September 18, 1990
1990 After years of hard work by Atlanta and other cities around the world competing to host the 1996 Summer Olympics, it was finally time for the International Olympic Committee to announce its decision as to host city. The I.O.C was meeting in Tokyo, where representatives from each competing city were present to hear the decision. Atlanta’s delegation included Gov. Joe Frank Harris, mayor Maynard Jackson, former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and Atlanta Organizing Committee president Billy Payne. Back in Georgia, a large crowd gathered at Underground Atlanta, joined by Georgians across the state, to watch the early morning live television announcement from Tokyo. Finally, I.O.C. president Juan Antonio Samaranch took the podium. As Georgians held their breath, he gave the never-to-be-forgotten pronouncement, "The International Olympic Committee has awarded the 1996 Olympic Games to the city of . . . Atlanta." As everyone from the Atlanta delegation jumped to their feet and hugged each other, the jubilant crowd in Atlanta went wild. In fact, what followed was an unplanned celebration at Underground Atlanta that went on into the night.
September 18, 2003
2003 For the second year in a row, the Atlanta Braves clinched their division title without playing a game. When the Florida Marlins lost, it assured the Braves would win their twelfth straight division title.