Hard Rock CafeNov. 2, 1983: President Ronald Reagan signed the bill designating the third Monday of January each year as a federal holiday to honor the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Nov. 3, 1997: The Atlanta City Council officially designated Princess Diana Memorial Plaza, the triangular-shaped plot where West Peachtree and Peachtree streets merge, across from Pershing Point Park and just east of the I-85 ramp. The sliver of green space and concrete is the site of the Prince of Wales World Athletes Monument, five bronze male Atlas figures supporting the world, given to the city by the Prince of Wales Foundation during the 1996 Olympics. After Princess Diana’s death on Aug. 31, 1997, an estimated 20,000 gathered there to leave flowers, cards and other items to express their grief.

Nov. 6, 1948: The last Confederate veteran to reside in Atlanta’s Soldiers Home died at Grady Memorial Hospital after a 10-day fight with pneumonia. The 99-year-old veteran, William Henry Taylor Dowling, a Lowndes County native, was born in 1849. He married Georgia Hayes in 1870 and they had 15 children. The day after his death, the Moreland Avenue Church of Christ conducted Dowling’s funeral service. His burial site is in the Manchester Cemetery in Manchester, Ga.

Nov. 7, 1955: The U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation on Atlanta’s golf courses unconstitutional. The next day, Gov. Marvin Griffin said that Georgia would abandon all state parks before “co-mingling of the races” was allowed. On Dec. 24, with the approval of Mayor William B. Hartsfield, and Griffin’s strong disapproval, Atlanta’s golf courses were desegregated without incident.

Nov. 12, 1946: Walt Disney’s Song of the South – based on Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus stories – premiered at the Fox Theatre. Disney has never released the movie on VHS or DVD, allegedly because of racial insensitivity.

Nov. 13, 1917: After former Major League Baseball player William Ashley “Billy” Sunday turned Presbyterian evangelist, he arrived in Atlanta on the Dixie Flyer train with his “Saving Folks” campaign. Sunday conducted a seven-week revival in a temporary tabernacle at the old circus grounds on Irwin Street in the Old Fourth Ward’s Jackson Hill Neighborhood.

Nov. 16, 2001: In his wrong-way escalator run at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Michael Shane Lasseter of Gainesville caused a security scare on the heels of the September terrorist attacks, shutting the airport down for more than three hours.

Nov. 17, 1997: Elton John received the international Humanitarian Award from CARE USA at a ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Buckhead.  The organization honored John for his AIDS Foundation work in Thailand and other developing countries.

Nov. 19, 1973: President Richard Nixon issued a few energy-saving rules to cope with the Arab oil embargo of the United States. On Georgia highways the speed limit dropped to 55 miles per hour and Sunday gas sales were eliminated.

Nov. 23, 1992: The Hard Rock Café opened with an invitation-only benefit for the Atlanta City Unit of the American Cancer Society. The next day it opened to the public at 215 Peachtree St. The displays included a guitar once played by the late Duane Allman and a 1964 congratulatory telegram sent by Elvis Presley to the Beatles.

Nov. 30, 1894: Joseph E. Brown, governor of Georgia during the Civil War, died at his Washington Street home. He also served as a justice of the Supreme Court and as a U.S. senator. A statue by Giuseppi Moretti of the governor and wife Elizabeth Grisham Brown graces the state Capitol lawn on the northeast corner of Washington and Mitchell streets.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.