February 19, 1808
1808 Politician David Emanuel died in Burke County, Georgia. Little is known about his early years, except that he was probably born in Pennsylvania around 1743. At some point, his family moved to Georgia. Emanuel served in the Revolution, both as a soldier and a member of the executive council. After the war, he represented Burke County in the legislature for many years, also serving in Georgia’s 1789 and 1795 constitutional conventions. In 1796, Emanuel was appointed to the commission to investigate the infamous Yazoo land fraud. As president of the Georgia Senate, Emanuel became governor on March 3, 1801, when Gov. James Jackson resigned to become a U.S. senator. Emanuel served as governor for just over eight months before retiring from politics. He died at his home in 1808. Four years later the Georgia legislature named a new Georgia county in his honor.
February 19, 1875
1875 Educator Harvey Warren Cox was born in Birmingham, Illinois. He earned his doctorate from Harvard before becoming a professor at the University of Florida in 1911. By 1916, Cox was dean of Florida’s teachers’ college. In 1920, Cox was chosen as first president of the new Emory University in Atlanta. He remained the university’s president for the next 22 years, supervising its growth from a few loosely connected schools on an isolated campus into one of the premiere private schools in the country. Cox led Emory through the financial crisis of the Great Depression, and ultimately saw its expansion onto campuses at Oxford and Valdosta. During his presidency, financial contributions quadrupled and enrollment more than doubled. Poor health forced Cox’s resignation in 1942. Two years later, he died in Atlanta on July 27, 1944.
February 19, 1917
1917 Author Carson Smith McCullers was born in Columbus, Ga. After graduating from Columbus High School in 1933, she moved to New York City, where she attended Columbia University in 1934, followed by two years at New York University. In 1937, Smith married Reeves McCullers, from whom she eventually separated, re-married, and finally divorced. The next year, they moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she wrote her most famous work, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. In 1943, Harper’s published what many consider to be McCuller’s best work -- the short story The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. Her second novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye, was not well received by critics. Her third novel, The Member of the Wedding, was not only well received but also caught the eye of young Tennessee Williams, who urged her to write a play based on the book. McCullers suffered from various illnesses most of her adult life, finally succumbing to a massive stroke in Nyack, New York in 1967. In 1997, the Carson McCullers Society was created to promote scholarship in her life and works..
February 19, 1919
1919 The Pan-African Congress, organized in Paris by former Atlanta University professor W.E.B. DuBois, met at the Grand Hotel, Paris. Attending were fifty-seven delegates from the United States and African countries and colonies.
February 19, 1936
1936 John Hope, the first black president of Morehouse College (1906-1931) and Atlanta University (1929-until his death), died in Atlanta.
February 19, 1942
1942 In Washington D.C., the U.S. War Department announced that a $15 million Bell Bomber plant would be built in Marietta, Ga. A month earlier, Bell Aircraft Corporation counsel William J. O’Connor had announced that Marietta was the company’s preferred location. The Marietta site was adjacent to Rickenbacker Field -- an air strip which Cobb County and the Civil Aeronautics Administration had begun building in June 1941. Local politicians named the field in honor of World War I aviator and Eastern Airlines President Eddie Rickenbacker. Marietta seemed to be an ideal site for the bomber plant due to the availability of the air field and proximity to Atlanta. U.S. 41 was then being constructed near the site, and a trolley line from Marietta to Atlanta would help bring in workers. The February 19 announcement added that Atlanta would furnish the plant with water. (On August 8, 1942 the army would complete a 20-inch water main from Atlanta to Marietta for the exclusive use of the Bell Bomber plant.) In time Bell would employ nearly 29,000 workers and produce over 660 B-29 bombers. [Contributed by Dr. Tom Scott, Kennesaw State University]
February 19, 1953
1953 Gov. Herman Talmadge signed legislation creating a State Literature Commission. The purpose of the new agency, however, was not to promote works of literature. Rather, its three members -- who by law were to be "of the highest moral character" -- were to investigate literature "detrimental to the morals of the citizens of the State." Specifically, the commission was to investigate and recommend prosecution of anyone believed to be distributing or selling obscene literature in Georgia.
February 19, 1981
1981 Thirteen year old Curtis Walker disappeared in Atlanta;; his strangled body was discovered in a river a little over two weeks later. He was the latest victim in the Atlanta Child Murders case.