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The Culture of the State of Georgia

Instructor: Nate Sullivan

Nate Sullivan holds a M.A. in History and a M.Ed. He is an adjunct history professor, middle school history teacher, and freelance writer.

In this lesson we will learn about the culture of the state of Georgia. We will identify important aspects of Georgian culture, learn about their origins and characteristics, and see how they make the state unique.

Georgia: The Peach State

Georgia is known for many things. Among other things, it is know for its peaches. If you've ever driven through the state, you may have seen signs for peach stands or peach orchards. There is even a city in the state called Peachtree City. Growing peaches is an important aspect of Georgia's culture, and it is something Georgia is known for. While peaches are believed to have been introduced to Georgia in the 16th century by Franciscan monks, it was after the Civil War that peach growing in Georgia exploded. Cotton production in the American South peaked in the years prior to the Civil War, and as it declined in the years afterwards, peaches emerged as a popular alternative. Peach growing peaked in the 1920s, but interestingly enough, it wasn't until 1995 that the peach became the official state fruit.

Of course, peaches aren't the only thing Georgia is known for. Let's learn about some other aspects of Georgia's culture, and explore what the state is like from a cultural perspective.

Georgia's Southern Heritage

Obviously Georgia is in the South. Georgia derives much of its cultural identity from its Southern heritage. Georgia was among the group of states that seceded from the Union in 1861 to form the Confederate States of America. Georgia's role as a ''rebel'' state is a source of pride for many Georgians. Interest in the Civil War is an important part of Georgian culture. Before the Civil War, Georgia was home to many wealthy Southern aristocrats. Southern charm and refinement were expressed through a culture revolving around ''Southern gentlemen.'' Aspects of this culture continue throughout Georgia to this day, especially in the eastern part of the state.

Like other states in the South, agriculture is prominent throughout Georgia. We already mentioned peaches and cotton, but tobacco, pecans, peanuts, corn, and other crops are vital to Georgia's economy. Driving through Georgia, you may also see signs for ''roasted peanuts'' in addition to signs for peach stands. Much of Georgia is rural, but of course, there are major cities like Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah, and others. Steeped in Southern culture, the way of life throughout Georgia is often considered to be slow and laid-back. Country music is popular, and many Georgians have an interest in firearms. Generally, Georgia is politically conservative. With a few exceptions, it has generally voted Republican in presidential elections.

This map shows the elevation levels in Georgia. The highest elevations are shaded purple.
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Cultural Attractions

As the capital and major city of the state, Atlanta is home to numerous cultural attractions. The Coca-Cola company was founded in Atlanta in the late 19th century, and today the World of Coca-Cola is a popular museum. The city is also home to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a museum highlighting America's civil rights history. Atlanta was home to the 1996 Summer Olympics. The city's major sports teams include the Atlanta Falcons (NFL), the Atlanta Braves (MLB), and the Atlanta Hawks (NBA). Atlanta is a vibrant cultural center, home to a wide variety of arts and entertainment.

The skyline of Atlanta.
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The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is located in Savannah. This museum honors the men of the Eighth Air Force, who played a decisive role in strategic bombing campaigns during World War II. Savannah is a delightful city with a rich history. It played important roles in both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Beautiful architecture draws many tourists to Savannah.

The famous book-turned-movie, Gone With the Wind, is based on life in Georgia during the Civil War. The book was written by Atlanta native Margaret Mitchell, and published in 1936. Numerous movies have been filmed in Georgia, including Remember the Titans, Selma, and Blind Side, among others. The well-known TV show The Walking Dead is filmed and based in Georgia. The popular rock band R.E.M is from Athens, Georgia.

Gone With the Wind is set in Civil War Era Georgia.
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