Perhaps the most well known historical role of Atlanta, the city was the birthplace and general center of operations for Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. As King was born and raised in Atlanta, the city’s problem with racial segregation and his own experience with racism became one of the driving forces behind his role in ending the reigbn of Jim Crow laws across the south. The importance of the movement and King Jr.’s leadership is immortalized at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, which showcases where he grew up and his life’s path to the social activist he became. This is not only important history for Atlanta or the U.S, but the entire world, as King Jr. is still cited as a major figure in the social changes of the late 20th to early 21st century.
If you’re a fan of American history, you’ll likely be aware of Atlanta’s significance during the Civil War. During what would become known as the Atlanta Campaign led by Union General William Techsumah Sherman. As a part of General Ulysses S. Grant’s military strategy, Sherman was to capture Atlanta and cut off its critical supply lines from the Confederacy. After months of battles and raids on Confederate camps and Atlanta itself, the city fell to the Union in September of 1864, and Sherman burned most of the city to the ground in November during his march to the sea. The capture and destruction of Atlanta was critical to the success of the Atlanta campaign, and by extension, the end of the Civil War itself. Atlanta came back after its destruction as well, becoming one of the 50 largest cities in the country by 1880, and is still today the 37th most populous city in the U.S.A.
Atlanta also has a place in American culture outside of major social changes or armed conflict. Did you know that Coca-Cola, the best selling soft drink in all of the U.S.A, was created and first sold in Atlanta? A pharmacist named John Pemberton originally created the beverage as a result of his attempts to create a treatment for morphine addiction, and he sold the beverage as a soft drink for 5 cents a glass. After Pemberton died in 1888 after selling the rights to Coca-Cola, the beverage became increasingly popular, switching from being a soda fountain exclusive drink to a bottled one, sponsoring the 1928 Olympics, and becoming increasingly sought by soldiers during the Second World War. Today, Coke is an icon of American culture, appearing in movies and T.V shows.The history of Coke all starts in Atlanta, and Coke is celebrated in Atlanta, with its own museum/tourist attraction at the World of Coca-Cola.
Major cities across the U.S all have their own historical significance for many different sections of history. Atlanta has plenty more history to offer those who want to learn more beyond what has been provided here. If you’re interested in Atlanta’s historical role in areas beyond the Civil War, Coke, and the Civil Rights movement, check out Atlanta’s page about historical landmarks. If you’re planning a trip, you may find something you’d be interested in checking out.