Atlanta - History
Atlanta started as railroad junction in the 1830s and quickly became the transport hub of the South. Its strategic importance was a large part of the reason it made such an inviting target for General Sherman's Union Army, which razed it during the Civil War. Ever ready to convert fact into myth, Hollywood made the burning of Atlanta the set piece of Gone with the Wind. With rebuilding came the rigid segregation of the post-Reconstruction era, shutting African Americans out of white Atlanta for decades.
The efforts of the city's boosters eventually paid off, and Atlanta became known as 'Capital of the New South.' Anchoring its economic renaissance has been the king of fizz, Coca Cola. Atlanta was also the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr and the nerve centre of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Since then, Atlanta has elected the first black representative to Congress since Reconstruction, Andrew Young (later ambassador to the UN under Jimmy Carter), and the country's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson.
The city has in recent years undergone a stunning metamorphosis. Although the tourists still flock through the antebellum plantation homes, in reality Atlanta remains the south's capital. The city became internationally known as the host of the 1996 Olympics and as the home of such multinational corporations (it's the base of global broadcasting giant CNN as well as those soda pop sellers).