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Dan Sweat oral history interview 1996 November 20

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Creator: Sweat, Dan E., Jr., 1933-1997
Barbash, Shepard
Kuhn, Cliff
Title: Dan Sweat oral history interview 1996 November 20
Date: 1996 Nov. 20
Description: Local identification number: Sweat, D_19961120_(P-3)

Sweat was born in 1933 in Waycross, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia State College (later Georgia State University) in 1957 with a degree in public administration. He married his wife Tally in 1956, and they had three children and several grandchildren. Sweat covered the Fulton County courthouse for the Atlanta Journal while still in college. In 1957 he entered the Navy, where his commander allowed him to attend Seventh Fleet scheduling conferences. Sweat later returned to Atlanta, and the Journal, but later took at job as information director at DeKalb County. County Commission chairman Charles O. Emmerich took Sweat under his wing, but lost his reelection bid in 1964. Emmerich then took a job with Economic Opportunity Atlanta, a new federal anti-poverty program, and took Sweat with him. Sweat earned a reputation as a master at getting federal grants. Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. eventually offered Sweat a position at City Hall. Sweat took a job in 1966 as director of government liaison, charged with bringing as much federal money to Atlanta as possible. Eventually Allen promoted Sweat to chief administrative officer in August of 1969. Sweat kept the same job under Mayor Sam Massell, who succeeded Allen. He coordinated Atlanta's War on Poverty and Model Cities programs during his tenure at City Hall. Sweat also played a role in the naming of the first two black department heads in city government. Sweat left City Hall in late 1971, and early the next year took a job as executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission. He was involved in establishing the Chattahoochee River Corridor, and helped the commission survive its initial court challenges. In 1973, Sweat became president of Central Atlanta Progress. In that role he represented downtown business interests, and gained the reputation as a major power broker in Atlanta. Sweat bridged the gap between new black political power at City Hall and the white downtown business establishment. He was involved in numerous high profile downtown projects, including the redevelopment of both Underground Atlanta and the Bedford Pines neighborhood. Sweat left CAP in 1988 and took a job with the CF Foundation, a philanthropic organization affiliated with developer Thomas G. Cousins. In 1991, former President Jimmy Carter appointed Sweat coordinator of the Atlanta Project. Sweat helped raise $14 million in his first year on the job. He left in 1995. These interviews were conducted during an illness that resulted in Sweat's death in 1997. His condition during the interviews had an impact on the content, length, and structure of the interviews.

Among topics discussed: Sweat as reporter covering 1957 Atlanta bus "ride-in"; Reverend William Holmes Borders; other reporters: Billy Key, John Pennington; Rich's; Paschal's; Governor George Romney; Auburn Avenue; Mayor Ivan Allen; Points of Light Foundation; Richard Schubert; Charlie Emmerich; Aubrey Morris; covering the Georgia Waterways Commission, Chattahoochee River, Buford Dam issues; Joe Martin; Bedford-Pine project; Chattahoochee Corridor Plan; early environmental activists: Jim Mackay, Georgia Conservancy; George Berry; Sweat's experience as reporter shaped skills as a public administrator; Jay Smith; Central Atlanta Project; Andrew Young; SCLC; Hosea Williams; Sweat's acquaintances and friends in Atlanta black community; John Calhoun; Atlanta-Fulton County NAACP; Eugene Cook; Jesse Hill; Herman Russell; Martin Luther King, Sr.; citizen participation; Sweat's campaign against pornography theaters, bath houses; Wyatt T. Walker; A.T. Walden; Whitney Young; Vernon Jordan and Urban League; John Cox; why Sweat left the Atlanta Journal to work for DeKalb County; Atlanta Regional Commission; Harlan Dinkler; Richard Ashworth; League of Women Voters; National Association of Counties; Georgia Association of Counties; DeKalb County bond issue for roads, sidewalks, incinerator; Hale Heland; Matt Purvis; Herman and Eugene Talmadge; Georgia Municipal Association; Senator James Wesberry; Ben Johnson; spreading idea of regionalism; East Lake Country Club; Leroy Johnson; Phil Hammer; Plan of Improvement; opposition to regionalism; Larry McDonald; DeKalb County's role in regionalism; Pat Patillo; Jim Cherry and DeKalb County schools; Bill Graham.

Subjects: Reporters and reporting | Political activists--Georgia | Race relations | City planning--Citizen participation | Young, Andrew, 1932- | Southern Christian Leadership Conference | Hill, Jesse, 1927-2012 | Sweat, Dan E., Jr., 1933-1997
Contributors: Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections
Online Publisher: Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
Rights and Usage: The contents of this item, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. This item is the property of Georgia State University Library, and any user is asked to acknowledge Georgia State University Library.
Related Materials: Southern Labor Archives Collection | Sweat, Dan, Interviewed by Clifford Kuhn & Shep Barbash, 20 November 1996, P-3, Series P. Dan Sweat (P), Georgia Government Documentation Project, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library, Atlanta.
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Related Institutions: Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections
Collection Information: Georgia Government Documentation Project