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Educating the Urban New South: Atlanta and the Rise of Georgia State University, 1913-1969

Educating the Urban New South: Atlanta and the Rise of Georgia State University, 1913-1969 (Hardback)

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Synopsis

From evening school in 1913 to university status in 1969, Georgia State, an unwanted urban college, went through many difficult times. The problems included misguided recommendations from an elitist General Education Board, inadequate state funding, the Depression, opposition of the University of Georgia, a hostile board of regents, and the segregation crisis, among others. When the Evening School opened in downtown Atlanta, it was the only public college of its kind in a major Southern city. It lacked dormitories and campus, and had no building of its own until 1931. Its presence, unwelcome to many, often confounded education leaders including the Southern Association of Colleges (SAC), which apparently dealt with few if any institutions like it until after World War II. In the late 1940s, its industrial appearance led one journalist to call it the 'knowledge factory on Ivy Street'. After several name changes - System (or Atlanta) Center, Atlanta Division (of the University of Georgia), Georgia State College of Business Administration, and Georgia State College - it finally received university status in 1969. Viewed in retrospect, GSU's symbiotic relationship with dynamic Atlanta, along with the stimulus from World War II and the GI Bill, made its ultimate success virtually unstoppable. This sympathetic but critical account of GSU challenges some of the traditional interpretations of Georgia's educational history.

Merl E. Reed is emeritus professor of History, Georgia State University

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