A Witness to History

08/16/2018

The founder of Cox Enterprises, James M. Cox, purchased The Atlanta Journal in 1939, writing: “I wouldn’t know of another property in America I would want outside of this one. Georgia is a great empire with an inescapable progress of agricultural development. That appeals strongly to me.” He called the purchase “the rounding out of a dream.”

In 1950, Cox also purchased the Atlanta Constitution, just a few days before his 80th birthday. He assured Ralph McGill, editor, and Jack Tarver, associate editor: “I bought your paper because I wanted you. I want The Constitution to grow and I want you fellows to build it.” McGill said Governor Cox didn’t believe in imposing overall news and editorial policies on his newspapers, thinking it would be “contrary to the public good and bad business.”

The Journal and Constitution later merged. And over the years, the paper has been both a recorder and shaper of history throughout the South. Famed “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell started her career at the Atlanta Journal, writing feature articles for its Sunday magazine.

The paper covered such defining events as the Great Fire of Atlanta, the “Gone With the Wind” movie premiere, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Jimmy Carter presidential win, the announcement that Atlanta would host the 1996 Olympics and many more.

This year, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution celebrated its 150th anniversary. You can read more about it by clicking here to go to the commemorative content on MyAJC.com

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