In the early hours of October 12, 1958, fifty sticks of dynamite exploded in a recessed entranceway at the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, Atlanta’s oldest and most prominent synagogue, more commonly known as “the Temple.” The incident was but the most recent in a string of bombings throughout the nation affecting churches and synagogues associated with the Civil Rights movement. For Atlanta’s Jewish community, the event evoked memories of the notorious lynching of Leo Frank half a century earlier, arousing fears of anti-Semitism that had waned, but never disappeared. Rather than react with indifference, or worse, however, Atlanta’s business, media, and political elites denounced the bombing in no uncertain terms and launched an ambitious campaign to raise funds for the synagogue’s repair. Although the suspects were later acquitted, the outpouring of local support helped to dispel fears of anti-Semitic violence, and the moderate consensus that emerged in the bombing’s wake helped to distinguish Atlanta as “the city too busy to hate.”
The Civil Rights Digital Library includes a WSB-TV newsfilm clip (courtesy of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection) of mayor William Hartsfield speaking about violence against African Americans after the Temple bombing from October of 1958.
See also the New Georgia Encyclopedia articles on Melissa Fay Greene, author of The Temple Bombing (1996), and on Jacob Rothschild, rabbi of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation during the time of the bombing.
The Digital Library of Georgia is pleased to announce the availability of the Southern School News now in the Civil Rights Digital Library and soon the Digital Public Library of America.
The Southern School News Archive provides online access to the complete run of the newspaper, published from 1954 until 1965. The monthly paper was the product of the Southern Education Reporting Service, a Ford Foundation-backed group of Southern newspaper editors who sought to report on issues in desegregation in schools of all sizes and levels — from the smallest rural schoolhouses to large state universities — across the American South. The aim of this project was clear and solid: report the events impartially, dispassionately, and as completely as possible.
The newspaper outlined its mission in each issue:
Southern School News is the official publication of the Southern Education Reporting Service, an objective, fact-finding agency established by southern newspaper editors and educators with the aim of providing accurate, unbiased information to school administrators, public officials and interested lay citizens on developments in education arising from the U.S. Supreme Court opinion of May 17, 1954 declaring segregation in the schools unconstitutional. SERS is not an advocate, is neither pro-segregation nor anti-segregation, but simply reports the facts as it finds them, state by state.
The Southern School News Archive is available through the Civil Rights Digital Library, a rich digital resource that serves as a portal providing a seamless virtual library on the Civil Rights Movement drawing on holdings from more than 75 libraries and allied organizations from across the nation.
As a service hub for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) provides digitization and metadata assistance for its partner institutions around the state. The DLG also aggregates and shares metadata about digital items with the DPLA, allowing the DPLA to act as a portal to these collections. Thanks to grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Arcadia Fund, the Digital Library of Georgia has digitized and described these items for inclusion in both the DLG and the DPLA.