Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 7, 2021


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 7, 2021

George Washington attended the first inaugural ball on May 7, 1789 on Broadway near Wall Street in New York.

Washington arrived at the ball in the company of other American statesmen and their wives. That evening he danced with many of New York’s society ladies. Vice President John Adams, members of Congress and visiting French and Spanish dignitaries, as well their wives and daughters, joined in the festivities. Eliza Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton, recorded her impressions of the ball in her memoirs, noting that the president liked to dance the minuet, a dance she thought was suited to his dignity and gravity.

Congress passed the second part of the Militia Act on May 8, 1792, requiring all able-bodied white male citizens to be enrolled in the militia.

A Constitutional Convention convened on May 8, 1798 in Louisville, Georgia to rewrite the state Constitution after the Yazoo Land Fraud.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in Augusta, Georgia on May 8, 1845.

On May 9, 1862, a Union general, David Hunter, ordered the freedom of all slaves held in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, but President Lincoln issued a counter-order.

On May 7, 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant disengaged his Army of the Potomac from fighting against General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, ending the Battle of the Wilderness.

Although the Wilderness is usually described as a draw, it could be called a tactical Confederate victory, but a strategic victory for the Union army. Lee inflicted heavy numerical casualties (see estimates below) on Grant, but as a percentage of Grant’s forces they were smaller than the percentage of casualties suffered by Lee’s smaller army. And, unlike Grant, Lee had very little opportunity to replenish his losses. Understanding this disparity, part of Grant’s strategy was to grind down the Confederate army by waging a war of attrition. The only way that Lee could escape from the trap that Grant had set was to destroy the Army of the Potomac while he still had sufficient force to do so, but Grant was too skilled to allow that to happen. Thus, the Overland Campaign, initiated by the crossing of the Rappahannock, and opening with this battle, set in motion the eventual destruction of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Therefore, even though Grant withdrew at the end of the battle (which is usually the action of the defeated side), unlike his predecessors since 1861, Grant continued his campaign instead of retreating to the safety of Washington, D.C. The significance of Grant’s advance was noted by James M. McPherson:

[I]nstead of heading north, they turned south. A mental sunburst brightened their minds. It was not another “Chancellorsville … another skedaddle” after all. “Our spirits rose,” recalled one veteran who remembered this moment as a turning point in the war. Despite the terrors of the past three days and those to come, “we marched free. The men began to sing.” For the first time in a Virginia campaign the Army of the Potomac stayed on the offensive after its initial battle.

May 7, 1864 saw some of the first fighting in the Atlanta campaign, northwest of Dalton, Georgia.

On May 8, 1864, Union forces under Sherman continued to engage Confederates at the Battle of Rocky Face Ridge four miles west of Dalton, Georgia, seizing Blue Mountain.

Elsewhere on the same day, the Army of the Potomac under Grant reached Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia and found that Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had beaten them there from the Battle of the Wilderness. Grant’s Army of the Potomac remained engaged against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House through May 21, 1864.

In Georgia on May 9, 1864, Union troops under General Sherman took Snake Creek Gap. In Atlanta, a notice was published,

“ATTENTION MILITIA! All persons between the ages of 16 and 60, not in the service of the Confederate States, in the second ward, are hereby notified to be and appear at the City Hall today, at 2 o’clock P.M., for the purpose of being armed and equipped for local defense. Herein fail not under penalty.”

On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official “Mother’s Day.”

Keith Richards recorded the first version of the guitar riff that would become “Satisfaction” early in the morning of May 7, 1965 before passing out.

On May 9, 1974, the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary opened hearing on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

Jimmy Carter’s Presidential campaign received a boost on May 7, 1976 when he received the personal endorsement of the President of the United Auto Workers.

Happy Birthday to Bill Kreutzman, one of the drummers for the Grateful Dead. On Kreutzman’s 31st birthday, the Dead played at Boston Garden. The next night was the legendary Cornell show.

On May 8, 1977, the Grateful Dead played at Cornell.

On May 9, 1977, the Grateful Dead played at Buffalo War Memorial Auditorium.

On May 7, 1996, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell responded to the FBI Report that ranked Atlanta the most violent city in the nation. Campbell would succeed in replacing headlines about Atlanta’s violent crime by substituting headlines about official corruption.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 255, which creates a sexual assault protocol and committee to address how rape kits are handled within the criminal justice system. From the AJC:

The law, House Bill 255, creates a tracking system for rape kits as they move through the criminal justice system, including initial receipt by law enforcement, storage and analysis.

Supporters of the bill said it will keep victims involved in their cases if they choose, and it will help hold perpetrators of sexual assaults accountable.

Victims can be informed when perpetrators are identified, arrested and charged.






United States Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) took a trip to Valdosta to take credit for millions of dollars in stimmie bucks headed for local school systems. From the Valdosta Daily Times:

Meeting with Valdosta’s local representatives, Ossoff announced Valdosta City Schools will receive $46.8 million and Lowndes County Schools will receive $23.2 million

This will be through the American Rescue Plan Act which President Joe Biden enacted in 2021 to provide direct relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also helps schools reopen by providing the necessary resources to a majority of K-8 schools in their first 100 days, according to The White House’s site.

Ossoff said this funding should make the next school year “the best in history,” and help educators, parents and students who’ve struggled throughout the pandemic.

“Local education officials have a lot of flexibility with this funding because local officials, parents and educators know best what this community needs,” Ossoff said.

During Ossoff’s visit, Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman asked about the proposed heavy mineral sands mine near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

An environmental review process was attempted but has since been encumbered because of a change in interpretation of the Army Corps of Engineers’ jurisdiction, according to a U.S. Senate letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s principal deputy director, Martha Williams.

Ossoff said he and fellow Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock have already asked the USFWS to “engage and support” the Environmental Protection Division’s permit review of the mine.

“We will be monitoring closely this process and urging federal participation in this process to ensure that proposed commercial developments don’t damage the refuge and swamp,” Ossoff said.

From the Brunswick News:

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., says the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is an “absolutely sacred” place and must be protected from potentially harmful intrusions.

During a press conference Wednesday at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ossoff explained why he joined fellow Democrat U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help the state with the permitting process for Twin Pines Minerals, the Alabama-based company that wants to mine heavy minerals near the Okefenokee.

Ossoff said the Okefenokee is a “precious wildlife refuge that must be protected” and he wants to ensure the swamp will never be negatively impacted by a proposed commercial activity.

“Considering your agency’s long history of supporting Okefenokee Refuge, its scientific expertise in measuring ecological and hydrologic effects, and existing analyses about this mining proposal, we urge FWS to proactively support and engage with EPD in its review of this project and the cumulative impacts of long-term mining near the refuge,” the senators wrote in their request. “We ask FWS to specifically analyze whether the applicant is able to prove that operations will not harm the refuge.”

Kevin Chambers, spokesman for the EPD, said the state agency is fully capable of handling the permit request.

“Georgia EPD has the experience and resources to evaluate proposed permits for numerous industrial activities to ensure they comply with applicable state and federal regulations,” Chambers said. “This includes proposed state permits for surface mining, which would be required regardless of the role of the federal government.”

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black (R-Commerce) and Congressman Jody Hice (R-Monroe) will speak at the Second Congressional District GOP banquet later this month, according to the Albany Herald.

The 2nd Congressional District Republican Party will host a district banquet at the Lake Blackshear Resort on May 14 starting at 6 p.m. to gather supporters of the Republican Party from all over south Georgia for a banquet leading up to the 2nd District Republican Party Convention.


Savannah State University promoted interim president Kimberly Ballard-Washington to a permanent role as President, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“Savannah State’s 130-year history could not be better served than with a candidate of Ms. Ballard-Washington’s leadership and determination to honor its legacy while helping students successfully complete their degrees in the 21st century,” said USG chancellor, Steve Wrigley in a statement Thursday. “Kimberly has invaluable experience gained from working at a number of public universities across the state, and understands the important role Savannah State plays as the oldest public HBCU in Georgia. She truly and deeply cares for SSU, its students and its mission.”

“I have long admired and now love Savannah State University,” Ballard-Washington said through the USG. “For almost two years, I have had the privilege of leading one of the most historic and influential institutions in our state on a temporary basis. I am honored to now have the opportunity to continue to lead the University into the next phase of its future.”

The Board of Regents will take action on Ballard-Washington’s appointment as early as next week’s board meeting.

Glynn County Board of Education members will consider changing or revoking their mask mandate for schools, according to The Brunswick News.

Superintendent Scott Spence has throughout the school year determined on a month-by-month basis whether to make changes to the district mask mandate. He loosened the rule for the first time in April, when he announced that students could remove their masks while outdoors on campus.

He said Thursday he is considering removing the mask mandate in school buildings the day students begin the summer break. It would impact summer school and other programs for the remainder of May, June and July.

Board member Mike Hulsey said he feels it’s a decision that should fall to the superintendent.

“Now, do I feel like we could also take a vote as a board and override that? Sure,” Hulsey said. “But I think that ultimately it’s an administrative kind of decision.”

The discussion ended with a consensus to revisit the issue Tuesday.

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