Who Runs Georgia?

Who Runs Georgia?

by Calvin Kytle, James A. Mackay
     
 

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Nearly one hundred thousand newly enfranchised blacks voted against race-baiting Eugene Talmadge in Georgia's 1946 Democratic primary. His opponent won the popular vote by a majority of sixteen thousand. Talmadge was elected anyway, thanks to the malapportioning county unit system, but died before he could be inaugurated, whereupon the General Assembly chose his… See more details below

Overview


Nearly one hundred thousand newly enfranchised blacks voted against race-baiting Eugene Talmadge in Georgia's 1946 Democratic primary. His opponent won the popular vote by a majority of sixteen thousand. Talmadge was elected anyway, thanks to the malapportioning county unit system, but died before he could be inaugurated, whereupon the General Assembly chose his son Herman to take his place. For the next sixty-three days, Georgia waited in shock for the state supreme court to decide whether Herman or the lieutenant governor-elect would be seated.

What had happened to so suddenly reverse four years of progressive reform under retiring governor Ellis Arnall? To find out, Calvin Kytle and James A. Mackay sat through the tumultuous 1947 assembly, then toured Georgia's 159 counties asking politicians, public officials, editors, businessmen, farmers, factory workers, civic leaders, lobbyists, academicians, and preachers the question "Who runs Georgia?" Among those interviewed were editor Ralph McGill, novelist Lillian Smith, defeated gubernatorial candidate James V. Carmichael, powerbroker Roy Harris, pollwatcher Ira Butt, and more than a hundred others--men and women, black and white, heroes and rogues--of all stripes and stations.

The result, as Dan T. Carter says in his foreword, captures "the substance and texture of political life in the American South" during an era that historians have heretofore neglected--those years of tension between the end of the New Deal and the explosive start of the civil rights movement. What's more, Who Runs Georgia? has much to tell us about campaign finance and the political influence of Big Money, as relevant for the nation today as it was then for the state.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A new Georgia was about to be born. This is a most interesting account of the pangs of its birth."--The Honorable Zell Miller

"A very useful and illustrative book, both in terms of what it reveals about political conditions in Georgia in the wake of World War II and of the perspective of southern liberal thought in that era.”--James C. Cobb, author of The Most Southern Place on Earth

"After reading this book, who could ever forget the voices of this colorful cast of scoundrels, cynics, and occasional heroes? . . . Anyone interested in the early stages of the civil rights movement—and in the ambivalent white response—will find Who Runs Georgia? essential reading."--Dan T. Carter, from the foreword

"This book reveals a great deal about the nature of southern liberalism in the 1940s. It is interesting and well written."--Numan V. Bartley, author of The Creation of Modern Georgia

Library Journal
In 1947 the authors, then young veterans of World War II, were commissioned by a committee of Georgia liberals and political reformers to travel about the state interviewing politicians, lobbyists, newspaper publishers, and civic leaders in each of Georgia's 159 counties. They were to gather information relevant to the location and exercise of political power in Georgia. This volume consists of the authors' relatively brief report (approximately 85 pages) to their sponsoring committee and summarizes 64 of the dozens of interviews they conducted. The book provides a period snapshot of Georgia politics when a "county unit system" assured rural political dominance and when crude race baiting by politicians of the Talmadge political faction was common. State politics would soon be transformed by federal court reapportionment decisions, urbanization, and the Civil Rights movement. For academic collections on Southern politics and history and for public libraries with patrons interested in the same subject.--Thomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820320755
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
09/01/1998
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
915,271
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x (h) x 0.83(d)

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