Atlanta, A-Town, The ATL … no matter what you want to refer to it as, there is no denying that this southern city has a rich and diverse background. Three primary factors affecting Atlanta history are transportation, race relationships, and the Atlanta flavor.
Previously called Terminus, and later Marthasville, the area we now know as Atlanta underwent extreme growth due to the convergence of three railroad lines that connected the frontier town to other far away places in the southeast. In more recent times, the Hartsfield-Jackson airport has turned into one of the busiest in the world. Starting off with only international air travels to Mexico City, the Atlanta airport now has a wide range of international routes, greatly in part to the deregulation of the airline industry. The boost of air transit, as well as the creation of Atlanta’s major highways, Interstate 285 and Georgia 400, played a huge part in the convention and tourism businesses.
Race relations in Atlanta track back to the Civil War. As the 4th largest city in Georgia by 1860, the population of just below ten thousand was comprised of both enslaved and free African- Americans. In 1864, as a home front for war material production, Atlanta was occupied by General William G. Sherman and his troops. This culminated in many businesses and homes in Atlanta being burnt to the ground. As people began to reclaim Atlanta, the African American population increased to 40 percent as a result of to the education opportunities that were accessible. A very separated city was developed until the 1960’s when racial roadblocks began to be taken down. By 1970, African-Americans were a majority in Atlanta.
The third marker of historic development in Atlanta is the “Atlanta Spirit”. In other words, the idea that any type of business that was good and lucrative was also great for Atlanta as well as its residents. This attitude not only promoted economic growth but also a thriving art, music, and social scene. It transformed Atlanta into a standout urban hub.
While Atlanta’s history and growth are both deep and rich, one of the most influential factors have been the journey from a racially segregated town to one where African-American culture is celebrated and respected, the implementation of travel systems including airlines, highways, bus systems, and trains that brought commerce and development to a once unheard of town, and the niche market for flourishing business that still shines today. As unique and culturally enticing as ever, Atlanta is constantly making strides in history that will be marveled at for generations to follow.