Posted by: By James Wolfe, Press Attache
I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 15 from New York State, having no idea what to expect. Coming from the North, a lot of my friends were convinced I was going to some red neck wilderness out of the movie Deliverance. What I discovered was that my new home for the next two years was a delightful and diverse place with a rich history. My father worked for Coca Cola, one of the United States’ truly global brands, founded in 1886 and still headquartered in downtown Atlanta, where all soft drinks of any color or flavor are all referred to as “a coke.” The city is also home to CNN, the first 24-hour news channel that launched an entire industry based on the vision of billionaire founder Ted Turner, whom many thought was crazy to think there was a market for non-stop news. Atlanta is Georgia’s capital and largest city with a vibrant downtown. During my two years, I spent many weekend days in acting classes at the city’s Alliance Theater, and many evenings at concerts at the famed Fox Theater, the Omni auditorium, and other venues.
Atlanta was also the birth place of Martin Luther King Jr., one of the world’s most famous civil rights leaders and proponents of non-violent resistance. Among the state’s other famous sons is Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer who became governor of the state before being elected President of the United States in 1976. Many famous entertainers were Georgia natives, including blues singers Ma Rainey, Ray Charles, and Otis Redding; Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell; film director Spike Lee; and baseball legend Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete to play in the Major Leagues.
While the area around Atlanta boasts many interesting activities, from visiting Lake Lanier or Stone Mountain to rafting on the Chattahoochee River, the state has much more to offer. Athens, home to the University of Georgia, established itself as one of the country’s rock music hotspots in the early 1980’s, spawning bands and performers including the B-52s, REM, the Indigo Girls, and Danger Mouse, to name just a few.The city Savannah is one of the gems of the United State’s Atlantic Coast. It was founded in 1733 as the capital of the Georgia Colony, the last of the original thirteen colonies. General James Oglethorpe founded the colony with a royal charter (naming it after England’s King George) to serve as a buffer between the Carolinas and the Spanish colony of Florida and the French Louisiana territory. Oglethorpe’s plan as governor was to create a farming society with no slavery, but the plan failed and Georgia became one of the slave states that eventually seceded from the United States, prompting the Civil War (despite having been the 4th state to ratify the constitution). Savannah’s historic district continues to boast a charming atmosphere and many beautiful Victorian buildings.