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Dan Sweat oral history interview 1996 November 26

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Creator: Sweat, Dan E., Jr., 1933-1997
Kuhn, Cliff
Title: Dan Sweat oral history interview 1996 November 26
Date: 1996 Nov. 26
Description: Local identification number: Sweat, D_19961126_(P-6)

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: Leadership and development of the EOA; Sweat's experience as a Naval officer and how he learned leadership from that; philosophy on what it takes to be a good leader; how he put together and supported programs; dynamics and ramifications of city government; Sweat and Mayor Allen; the weak mayor system and the Alderman of Atlanta; dynamics of securing federal funding and grants; structure of city government; organization and financing of mass transit; meeting the qualifications of DOT and HUD; Deputy George M. Berry; finance commissioner Charlie Davis; Sweat's responsibilities outside of bringing in federal dollars; financing from HEW and HUD; Mayor Allen and Vine city; the personality and nature of Mayor Allen; Summerhill and SNCC; dynamics of City Hall; Planning Department; summer of 1966; Stokley Carmichael; Summerhill episode; riots near Georgia Baptist Hospital and Dixie Hills around the time of the King funeral; King funeral weekend; SCLC; George McGovern; Sam Massell as Chief administrative officer; the Abolish Atlanta Bill; ARC; Harry West and Alan Kieper.

Subjects: Municipal government--Georgia--Atlanta | Community Leadership | Legal aid--Georgia | City planning--Citizen participation | United States. Dept. of Transportation | United States. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development | United States. Dept. of Health and Human Services | American Red Cross | 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, 26 November 1996, P-6, 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