March 17, 1734
1734 On March 15, James Oglethorpe, Baron von Reck, Salzburger minister Israel Gronau , and two other Salzburgers left Savannah to search for a site for the Salzburgers to settle. On March 17, they agreed on a location on a creek about twenty miles northwest of Savannah. While still at sea, the Salzburgers had planned on erecting a stone marker at the site of their new Georgia home, which they hoped to call Eben Ezer, which meant "stone of help" or "monument to God’s protection." [On March 26, James Oglethorpe would agree to their request and formally name the new settlement Ebenezer.] Initially, Baron von Reck and the Salzburgers were enthused about the site selected . However, Ebenezer’s location proved too far from the Savannah River, meaning everything had to be transported by land. Moreover, the soil quality was not good, and there was frequent flooding. Eventually, the Salzburgers would receive permission to move to a new site on a bluff where the Ebenezer Creek entered the Savannah River. Here, they would build New Ebenezer, one of colonial Georgia’s most successful communities.
March 17, 1735
1735 Britain’s Parliament funded the entire ??25,800 requested by the Trustees for support of Georgia for the coming year -- even including an additional 200. This was a personal victory for James Oglethorpe, who had returned in England in 1734 to personally lobby for government funding for Georgia.
March 17, 1866
1866 Gov. Charles Jenkins signed legislation declaring "persons of color" to be defined as "all negroes, mulattoes, mestizoes, and their descendants, having one-eight negro, or African blood, in their veins." The act also authorized persons of color in Georgia the same rights as whites with respect to contracts,suits, inheritance, property, and punishments for violation of the law.
March 17, 1902
1902 Lawyer and golfing great Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. -- better known as Bobby Jones -- was born in Atlanta. Growing up across the street from the East Lake Country Club, Jones learned the game of golf early, winning his first tournament (a junior championship) at age nine. In 1916, he won the inaugural Georgia State Amateur Championship, and in 1917 and 1922, the Southern Amateur Championship. During this time, he was attending school, graduating from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in 1922, a B.S. from Harvard in 1924. After two years at Emory Law School (1926-27), Jones was admitted to the Georgia bar and began the practice of law in Atlanta. Amazingly, during much of his time in college, Jones was amassing string of victories as an amateur on the professional golf tour, He won nine major tournaments in the 1920s, but the culmination of his career occurred in 1930, when he won the four major championships of his time -- the British Amateur, British Open, U.S. Amateur, and the U.S. Open. A sportswriter coined the term "grand slam" for this remarkable achievement. Jones retired from competitive golf soon afterwards, but remained very active in promoting the sport, primarily by producing short films demonstrating golf fundamentals. Jones was one of the primary designers of the Augusta National golf course, where the first Masters tournament was held in 1934. Jones went on to serve as an intelligence officer with the Air Force during World War II, then began a successful business and writing career as a spinal condition limited his ability to actively play and teach golf. He authored or co-authored four books -- Down the Fairway, Golf is My Game, Bobby Jones on Golf, and Bobby Jones on the Basic Golf Swing. Jones died in Atlanta on Dec. 18, 1971.
March 17, 1922
1922 One day after the Atlanta Journal’s WSB radio station went on the air, the Atlanta Constitution launched its new WGST radio station using the radio facilities of Georgia Railway and Power Company. In the following months, the Constitution built its own facilities and was given the new call letters to WGM. For whatever reason, Constitution publisher Clark Howell, Sr. -- who also happened to be a trustee of Georgia Tech --decided to donate the radio station to Tech, at which point the call letters reverted to WGST.
March 17, 1933
1933 Gov. Eugene Talmadge signed a joint resolution of the General Assembly allowing the Georgia Bicentennial Commission to place a bronze tablet on the wall of the main entrance to the state capitol commemorating the 200th anniversary of the founding of Georgia.
March 17, 1943
1943 Gov. Ellis Arnall signed a joint resolution of the General Assembly creating a commission to revise the Georgia Constitution of 1877 -- a document according to the resolution that had been adopted "while the fear of alien domination and control was still prevalent, since which time the conditions in the state have completely changed."
March 17, 1955
1955 Politician Cynthia McKinney was born in Atlanta. Being daughter to longtime state representative Billy McKinney, politics came natural for Cynthia. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in international relations she taught at Spelman College, Atlanta University, and Agnes Scott College before being elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1988, where she served in the same chamber as her father--marking the first and only time in Georgia history that a father and daughter served at the same time in the same house). After four years in the General Assembly, McKinney successfully ran in Georgia’s new 11 congressional district in 1992, becoming the first African-American congresswoman from Georgia. She was reelected in 1994, but the next year the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 11th district as having been unconstitutionally drawn by the General Assembly [see story], which then forced redrawing congressional districts. In 1996, McKinney successfully ran in the new majority-white 4th congressional district. She was ousted from office in the 2002 Democratic primary by Denise Majette.