Introduction of Atlanta
City in NW Georgia, approximately 50 mi E of the Alabama border. It is the largest city in the state and is the capital. In transportation, finance, commerce, and culture, Atlanta is the most important city in the SE. The first settler built a cabin on the site in 1833 on land that belonged to the Creek Indians. The town was founded as Terminus in 1837, when it became the end of a railroad line. In 1843 the name was changed to Marthasville and in 1845 to Atlanta. By 1860 four more railroads had reached Atlanta, which gave it a head start as a transportation hub and which resulted in its playing a major role as a supply center for the Confederacy during the Civil War. In 1864 the city was the objective of the Union’s Atlanta campaign under General William T. Sherman. The Battle of Atlanta was fought nearby on July 22, and on September 2 Sherman occupied the city. On November 15, as he began his March to the Sea, Sherman burned most of the city. It was, however, soon rebuilt and prospered as the best example of the New South that wished to forget the Civil War defeat and move ahead. It was here in 1895 that the black leader Booker T. Washington proposed the Atlanta Compromise, in which he urged his fellow blacks to seek economic status first before achieving social and political equality. Another more activist political and religious black leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968, was born and is buried here. In 1973 Atlanta became the first major southern city to elect a black mayor. The city’s bestknown commercial enterprise is the soft drink Coca Cola, which got its start here. Atlanta has many points of interest, including old and new buildings, the restored Confederate Fort Walker, and a huge cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta. Approximately 25 mi NW of the city is Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, the site of Sherman’s attack on the Confederate army. In 1996 the city was host to the Summer Olympics.