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Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

On the morning of April 6,1936, a storm system that had been moving east through Alabama the previous evening struck Gainesville, GA.  Two tornadoes touched down separately and then merged to form what is often regarded the fifth deadliest tornado in United States history with an intensity of F4 on the Fujita scale.  A total of 203 people were confirmed dead in the wake of the storm and 40 additional people went missing. Below is an image of the destruction at the Cooper Pants Factory, which collapsed and caught fire, killing 70 workers on duty.  Recovery and relief efforts began in earnest three days later when President Roosevelt arrived in Gainesville with representatives from the American Red Cross, Civilian Conservation Corps, and Works Progress Administration.  The tornado caused over $13 million in damages, and it took two years to restore the city.

Cooper Company building demolished, Hall County, Georgia historical photograph collection, Hall County Library System.

Opening History includes an entire collection devoted to the Gainesville tornado and its aftermath.  In 2007, the Digital Library of Georgia worked in association with the Hall County Library System and the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection to create “1936 Gainesville Tornado: Disaster and Recovery“.

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On December 15, 1939, Gone with the Wind premiered at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.  For the three days leading up to the premiere, the city of Atlanta celebrated with parades, parties, and a costume ball.  The occasion was further marked when the governor, Eurith D. Rivers, declared the day of the premiere a state holiday.

View of the crowd of people outside Loew's Grand Theater for the premiere of the movie, Gone With the Wind in Atlanta, Georgia. Image courtesy of the Atlanta History Center Album.

In the midst of the celebrity gatherings and celebrations, there were some notable absences in the crowd.  No black actors from the film were allowed to attend due to Georgia’s Jim Crow laws.  Clark Gable threatened to boycott the premiere until Hattie McDaniel, the actress who played Mammy in the film, urged him to attend.  McDaniel did, however, attend the Hollywood premiere, and she was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for her role in the film.

View of author Margaret Mitchell arriving at the premiere of the movie Gone With the Wind outside the Loew's Grand Theater on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Image courtesy of the Atlanta History Center Album.

Opening History provides access to documents from this and other moments in film history.  The Atlanta History Center Album has a large collection entirely devoted to the premiere of Gone with the Wind and its subsequent anniversary celebrations.

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