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About this collection

Southwind recordings, 1980-1987 (MSS 1118)

Atlanta journalist Boyd Lewis conceived, created, produced, and hosted Southwind, a half-hour radio program of features and documentaries on the people, issues, and events of the South. The program aired on WABE-FM in Atlanta between November 14, 1980 and January 29, 1987. The collection contains 150 out of the 177 editions that were recorded. Each of the Southwind programs consisted of one to three segments that featured original reporting either by Mr. Lewis or his colleagues in public radio throughout the Southeast. Many of the segments focused on contemporary events that Mr. Lewis placed in historical context, while other segments were retrospectives of past events that featured the voices of the participants. The segments touched upon a broad range of topics relating to the history of Atlanta and the American South in the mid-to-late 20th century, including the Civil Rights Movement; African American history; city and regional economic and cultural development in the southeast; business and labor history; Atlanta theater; folk life; literature, and political history. As such, they are a potentially valuable primary source of scholarly and journalistic inquiry.


Southwind included feature interviews with historical figures such as the authors Erskine Caldwell and Paul Hemphill; educator Benjamin E. Mays, and former President Jimmy Carter. The program also featured commentaries by authors Pearl Cleage and Toni Cade Bambara; and a 1986 recording of author James Dickey reading selections of his poetry. Many episodes included features about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These segments included audio excerpts from many of King’s colleagues, including the Reverend Joseph Lowery and C. T. Vivian. Other features included an assessment of Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young’s first 100 days in office; a segment on threats to the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; a profile on civil rights activist Heman Sweatt; a feature on the 1986 Fifth District congressional race between John Lewis and Julian Bond; a story about Atlanta churches offering sanctuaries to immigrants fleeing political turmoil in Latin American countries; a piece on North Carolina’s Greensboro Massacre in 1978 where Klansmen killed five demonstrators; a feature about the Atlanta Crackers and Atlanta Black Crackers baseball teams, and several stories about the series of kidnappings and murders that took place in Atlanta in the late 1970s and early 1980s, known as “the Atlanta Child Murders.”

 

Southwind recordings contain 150 audio recordings, all of which are digitized and available on this database. 

 

The Kenan Research Center is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30305. Our hours of operation are 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Tuesday – Saturday. You may contact us by calling 404.814.4040 or emailing reference@atlantahistorycenter.com.

 

Digitization of this collection is made possible through Digital Public Library of America.

 
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