March 08, 2023
Welcome to 🐫 day.
😎 Today's weather: Sun and a high of 66.
Today's newsletter is 873 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Spotlight on "Terrible Terrell"
By the mid-20th century, southwest Georgia's Terrell County, three hours from Atlanta, gained a reputation among Black residents and civil rights workers as "Terrible Terrell" — one of the most dangerous and violent settings for people of color in the South.
Driving the news: The fourth season of the WABE podcast "Buried Truths" examines Terrell's white power structure and the horrors that it befell Black residents.
- It focuses on the brutal 1958 police beating of James Brazier, who died of brain damage days later, and the police shooting of Willie Countryman in his own backyard one month after that. Both involved the same police officer Weyman B. Cherry.
- Nearly 90 students in the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory contributed to the research — a project run by Buried Truths creator and host Hank Klibanoff.
Why it matters: Revisiting cases like these are important, because while the victims never saw justice in a court, "an entirely new kind of justice that can still be achieved: the judgment of history," Klibanoff, Pulitzer-prize winning author and former managing editor of the AJC, told Axios.
What they're saying: Terrell County "earned its reputation," Klibanoff told Axios.
- "They put no limitations or controls on their law enforcement officers who brought great brutality to their relationships with the Black community," he said. "And quite the contrary, they rewarded brutality."
- In 1960, Black people made up more than half of Terrell's 13,000-person population, but just 51 were registered to vote, according to SNCC records.
State of play: Today, Terrell has a Black sheriff and one Black county commissioner for its 60% Black population. That commissioner, Ernest Johnson, told Axios in an interview he heard countless stories like Brazier's growing up.
- "We got the brand because we deserved it," Johnson said. "We had some horrific things happen in Terrell County."
Yes, but: "We're a great community now," he said. "Are we perfect? No. But it's a whole long ways from where it used to be. And I personally feel comfortable living here, because times have changed."
- Yet Terrell's reputation, Johnson told Axios, "will be there forever."
Threat level: Today, while racism does exist in Terrell like "everywhere all over the world," Johnson said the biggest problem for the rural county with just under 9,000 residents is survival.
- "We're losing industry," he told Axios. "Like most small communities, we're dying out."
What's next: A fifth episode of Buried Truths' Season 4 drops today.
2: Finding your Uber at the airport
We've all been there before — at an airport, tired after a long flight and searching for the rideshare pickup area.
- Uber hopes to simplify that experience.
What's happening: The rideshare giant announced yesterday that it's adding step-by-step instructions within its app to navigate travelers from the plane to their Uber pickup zone, Axios San Francisco's Nick Bastone writes.
- The feature — which will include directions and accompanying photos — will be available at more than 30 airports worldwide to start, including Hartsfield-Jackson.
Details: As part of the announcement, Uber also said it'll soon roll out "walking ETAs" at more than 400 airports, so travelers can more accurately know when to call for a ride and cut down on their wait times.
💭 Thomas' thought bubble: ATL's ride-share area is a little better than the previous spot, which was the welterweight champion of soul-draining walks.
- The new version is a tad bit better. But, just like Emma said, sometimes the taxis — curbside at the far end of the terminal — are the way to go.
3. Do you trust the CDC?
Public health officials at all levels have been examining how to restore public trust in Atlanta-based CDC that was lost amid COVID chaos.
Why it matters: As you see from the data above, published this week in the journal Health Affairs, they have a long way to go.
What we're watching: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky last year told the New York Times that the agency made some "pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes" in its COVID response.
- She called for a refocus on public health needs, faster response to emergencies and outbreaks of disease, and more accessible information for ordinary people.
4. New statue on the block: Honoring Xernona Clayton
On International Women's Day, civil rights leader Xernona Clayton is getting a statute downtown.
Driving the news: The statue at West Peachtree and Xernona Clayton Way will be unveiled at 10am today at an event featuring Clayton, 92, and a slew of city and state leaders.
Why it matters: Clayton moved to Atlanta in 1965 from Muskogee, Okla. to work closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
- She worked to desegregate hospital facilities in Atlanta and in 1967 became the South's first Black person with her own television show.
- In 1968 a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan denounced the Klan and credited Clayton's influence for his change of heart.
Go deeper: Watch this Atlanta History Center interview of Clayton.
On the job hunt?
5. Five-ish Points: 🌮 Taco Tuesday everyday
👀 ICYMI: Georgia Senate Republicans passed a bill late Monday to prohibit certain transition treatments for transgender minors.
- More than 100 anti-trans health care bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, per the ACLU. (Axios)
🌮 You can celebrate Taco Tuesday every day of the week at these Black-owned eateries. (The Atlanta Voice)
❌ A bill to override the Cobb County Commission's decision to impose its own district map did not pass the Senate. (AJC)
🐺 Emma is remembering how much she loves this Colter Wall song.
🤘🏽Kristal had a wonderful time meeting Jerry Cantrell and seeing his show at The Eastern.
🙏 Thomas is praying for rain to wash this yellow doom dust away, just for a day.
This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Alex Perry.