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Henry Grady's New South

Atlanta, a Brave and Beautiful City

Written by Harold E. Davis

Publication Year: 2009


    The popular image of Henry W. Grady is that of a champion of the postbellum South, a region that would forgive the North for defeating it and would mobilize its own many resources for hones business and agricultural competition. Biographies and collections of Grady’s essays and speeches that appeared shortly after his death enhanced this image, and for a half-century, Grady was considered the personification of the New South Movement, a movement which promised industrialization for the South, an improved Southern agriculture, and justice and opportunity for black Southerners. As managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution, he espoused the New South throughout the nation and was in demand as a speaker for audiences in New York and Boston.
    Through extensive research, focusing on the decade of the 1880s in Georgia, Davis demonstrates that although Grady said all the right things to show that he wished to industrialize the South and that he was committed to the improvement of agriculture and fairness in racial matters, in fact he spent most of his efforts on behalf of Atlanta. His major interest was in making a difference for that city, leaving the rest of the South to enjoy whatever Atlanta could not garner for itself.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xi

Several years ago, with the encouragement of Malcolm M. MacDonald, director of The University of Alabama Press, I began research on Henry W. Grady, managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution, often described as the most prominent spokesman for the New South Movement. My efforts took me to Grady's papers at Emory University in Atlanta and to the Georgia State University Library...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-20

To those who barely knew him, the fall of 1889 seemed a glorious time for Henry W. Grady, the popular managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution. A cheerful, energetic man of thirty-nine, he beamed goodwill wherever he went. His name was a household word in the homes of most educated Americans. A celebrated orator...

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2. Grady and the Atlanta Constitution

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pp. 21-54

During the 1880s the Atlanta Constitution was one of two southern newspapers read and admired in the North. Only in Louisville, Kentucky, where Henry Watterson edited the Louisville Courier Joumal, was there a publication to rival it. The Constitution had a point of view; it had leadership, and it was financially stable....

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3. Politics and the Atlanta Ring: 1880-1886 [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 55-110

The unpopularity of Atlanta in the rest of Georgia was due in part to jealousy but also to what some saw as a disagreement over values. In its early decades, the city had a reputation for bawdiness, which spread as farmers drove wagonloads of produce to market and remained long enough to experience the sinful delights of the new...

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4. Politics and the Farmers

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pp. 111-132

Virtually every spokesman for the New South Movement had an agricultural component in his plan, for common sense said that prosperity would elude the region unless farmers shared in it. Henry Grady was no different. His farm program, promoted through the Atlanta Constitution and elsewhere, sounded sensible on its surface,...

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5. The Politics of Race

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pp. 133-163

Racial policy was as much a part of Henry Grady's New South as the farm program but was harder to handle. Dealing with farmers, Grady faced one constituency. In matters of race, he faced three, each fractious and seeking different ends. As in so much else, politics was at the heart of Grady's program, and each of his three...

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6. Development and Reconciliation

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pp. 164-190

Atlanta could justify this mixed approach. Other cities never gave it anything voluntarily, with one stunning exception. Other localities unintentionally created Atlanta, not as a rival but as a railroad junction, a crossroads that might support a few stores and a tavern or two. The junction first took the accurate if unexciting name of Terminus. Augusta and Savannah both wanted rail access to the...

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7. Epilogue

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pp. 191-197

The Atlanta Ring began coming apart on the day in 1886 that Gordon was elected governor. From that moment until the hour of Grady's death in 1889, the estrangement of the men became more marked.1 The reason may be guessed at. Gordon was a celebrated figure. He disliked hearing men say that Grady had elected him...

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pp. 199-204

[In June, 1889, rumors in Georgia reported that Senator Joseph E. Brown was sick and might die. Grady heard those reports along with others that said Governor John B. Gordon was speaking with legislators on behalf of his own election to the United States Senate in case the seat became vacant. Gordon was nearing the end of the first year of his second two-year term as governor and he could not succeed himself. Grady wrote an unsigned editorial for a Sunday...


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pp. 205-231


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pp. 232-244


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pp. 245-254

E-ISBN-13: 9780817382742
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817304546

Publication Year: 2009