March 15, 1733
1733 Georgia’s Trustees met and formally recognized the initial "anniversary" of Georgia. Georgia’s Charter of 1732 directed the trustees named in that document to meet the third Tuesday of March 1733 to elect additional members of the Trustees as well as the Common Council (which served as a type of executive board) in order to create a full board and council, and to meet on the third Tuesday of each future March to elect replacements as needed. Presumably having misread the actual day specified in the Charter, the Trustees instead met on the third Thursday of 1733 -- a mistake thereafter repeated each year. In any event, the Trustees celebrated the third Thursday of each March as a special day and customarily assembled in a church for a sermon to mark the event.
March 15, 1758
1758 Royal governor Henry Ellis signed an act of the General Assembly dividing the colony of Georgia into eight parishes -- Christ Church, St. Matthews, St. George, St. Paul, St. Philip, St. John, St. Andrew, and St. James -- as part of a broader act providing for religious worship according to the rules of the Church of England. Although parishes were primarily religious jurisdictions, they also had several civil functions (such as setting taxes for relief of the poor and registering all births, marriages, and deaths). Four more parishes were added by an act of March 25, 1765. The final lands added to colonial Georgia were lands ceded by the Creeks and Cherokees on June 1, 1773. Later, the Constitution of 1777 redesignated the 12 parishes and area of ceded lands as 8 counties and renamed them.
March 15, 1858
1858 Clergyman and author Edward R. Carter was born in Athens, Georgia. Carter was an African-American minister who became pastor of Atlanta’s First Baptist Church in 1882. At the time, the church was $3,000 in debt, but under Carter, the debt was erased and the church ended up with $10,000 in assets. The money was put to good use, as Carter was influential in the founding of Spelman College. In fact some of the college’s first classes were held in the basement of Carter’s church, renamed Friendship Baptist Church. Carter remained a friend to all the African-American universities in the Atlanta area, an active participant in many voluntary organizations associated with the church, and traveled throughout the South preaching. Carter wrote a number of articles, plus one notable book -- The Black Side: A Partial History of the Business, Religion, and Education of the Negro in Atlanta. He died on June 8, 1944 in Atlanta.
March 15, 1883
1883 Former Confederate general Henry Constantine Wayne died in Savannah. Born there on Sept. 18, 1815, Wayne graduated from West Point in 1838. During the Mexican War, he performed both artillery and quartermaster service. Wayne also studied the use of camels in the Southwest. In Dec. 1860, Wayne resigned his commission in the U.S. Army. After Georgia’s secession, he was appointed adjutant general and inspector general of Georgia troops. In Dec. 1861, Wayne was appointed brigadier general in the Confederate Provisional Army, but the next month he resigned this commission after having been ordered to Virginia. Wayne returned to Georgia as a major general in command of two brigades of Georgia militia to help in the defense of the state as Sherman launched his Atlanta Campaign. In June 1864, however, Wayne was relieved of command and assigned to administrative duties. After the war, he became involved in the timber industry.
March 15, 1911
1911 Future Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. was born. He served as mayor during most of the 1960s, some of the most turbulent times of the civil rights era. He helped steer Atlanta through these times was was noted for his progressive views on civil rights. In 1981 he was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize. He died July 2, 2003.
March 15, 1916
1916 Trumpet player and bandleader Harry James was born in Albany, Georgia. His mother was a trapeze artist and his father the band leader for the traveling Mighty Haag Circus. In 1923, the James family moved to Beaumont, where young Harry showed an early affinity for music. He played drums by age seven, and began taking trumpet lessons when he was ten years old. By age 12, he was playing trumpet in the Christi Brothers Circus band. James was soon playing and touring with various bands, most notably with Benny Goodman from 1937-38. James left Goodman to form his own band, which debuted in February 1939. His band quickly earned a large following, producing several best sellers throughout the 1940s. In 1943, the popular musician married actress and wartime pin-up queen Betty Grabel-- the first of four marriages for him. James continued to tour regularly in the 1950s, then retired for a brief time before returning for special engagements in places like Las Vegas and New York. In addition to his trumpet playing and band leading, James has done soundtracks for numerous movies, and is considered a pioneer in the jazz genre. Harry James died on July 5, 1983 at age 67.
March 15, 1926
1926 Former Atlanta Falcon head football coach Norm Van Brocklin was born in Eagle Butte, Montana. As a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, Van Brocklin passed for a game record of 554 yards in 1951. The NFL Hall of Famer was the League’s MVP in 1960. He went on to become the first coach of Minnesota Vikings. In 1971, Van Brocklin moved to coach the Falcons, helping them to their first winning season. He coached Atlanta through the 1976 season, replaced the next year by Leeman Bennett.
March 15, 1933
1933 Amidst the Great Depression, Gov. Eugene Talmadge negotiated $2 million in loans from the First National Bank, Citizens and Southern National Bank, and Fulton National Bank to keep Georgia’s public schools operating for the rest of the school year. Even with this loan, some Fulton County teachers faced the prospect of not being paid for April and May.
March 15, 1943
1943 At the request of owners of the Cloister Hotel and of residents of an area of southeastern St. Simons Island that was variously known as Long Island, Glynn Isle, Sea Island Beach, and Sea Island, Gov. Ellis Arnall signed a joint resolution of the General Assembly officially designating the area in question as Sea Island.
March 15, 1960
1960 In Atlanta, 200 students staged sit-ins at ten downtown lunch counters. The protests moved to the Georgia State Capitol, where six students attempted to be served. When told to leave, they were arrested and taken to the Fulton County jail.
March 15, 1965
1965 Eight days after civil rights marchers were beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Pres. Lyndon Johnson addressed the nation and Congress on television outlining a proposed Voting Rights Act he would submit to Congress in two days. Under provisions of that legislation, observers would begin monitoring elections in Georgia and other southern states with a history of low voting participation by minorities. Also set into play was an extensive framework of U.S. Justice Department "pre-clearance" before any city, county, or state legislative body could enact any changes in voting or election laws. Most notably this would affect Georgia with respect to efforts to reapportion election districts.
March 15, 1980
1980 Carl Vinson became the first living American to have a U.S. Navy ship named after him, with the dedication of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier at Newport New, Virginia.
March 15, 1994
1994 Because it appeared that he would miss the 1994 season, starting leftfielder Ron Gant was released by the Atlanta Braves. Gant had broken his leg in an off-road motorcycle accident in early February.
March 15, 1995
1995 Shareholders of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta Corporation approved a $10 billion merger of the two companies. Lockheed chairman Daniel M. Tellep became the first chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin, while his counterpart at Martin Marietta, Norman R. Augustine, was to take over the company when Tellep retired in two years. Perhaps, the biggest controversy about the merger was the fact that Augustine received a $8.2 million bonus for his part in the merger, and Tellep received another $770,000. At the same time the 170,000-employer work force was expected to be trimmed by about 30,000 jobs, with most of the losses coming in California. The merger was expected to have relatively little impact on the labor force in Marietta, Ga., which was expected to stabilize by the end of the year at about 9,000. The Marietta plant would continue its forty-year history of turning out C-130s and continue managing the development of the F-22 fighter. In Lockheed’s last year of operation as a separate company, the Marietta’s Lockheed Aeronautical Group had generated $6 billion of Lockheed’s total $13.2 billion in revenues. However, Kenneth M. Cannestra, the Group President, lost a fight to keep the Aeronautical Group headquartered in Cobb County. Instead, Cannestra’s successor, James "Mickey" Blackwell, would be headquartered with other top company executives in Bethesda, Maryland. The highest ranking official in Georgia was to be John S. McLellan, President of the Marietta plant.
March 15, 1999
1999 Though illness prevented him from attending, Atlanta resident and musician Curtis Mayfield was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. This marked Mayfield’s second induction, as he and his group, the Impressions, were selected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. Mayfield died later in 1999.
March 15, 2004
2004 Norb Hecker, first head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, died at age 76. Hecker coached the Falcons from 1966-68. Before coming to the new Falcons team, Hecker had been a Green Bay Packer assistant coach under Vince Lombardi, helping win three NFL championships. Unfortunately, with the new Atlanta professional team, Hecker compiled a record of 4 wins, 26 losses, and 1 tie.