Home » Item Display

Dan Sweat oral history interview 1996 November 14

Click here to view the item (new window)
Type: Text | application/pdf
Creator: Sweat, Dan E., Jr., 1933-1997
Barbash, Shepard
Title: Dan Sweat oral history interview 1996 November 14
Date: 1996 Nov. 14
Description: Local identification number: Sweat, D_19961114_(P-2)

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: Family background in Waycross; coaching; childhood activities: baseball, Key Club, school work; attitudes toward race growing up; decision to attend the Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia (now Georgia State University); Dr. George M. Sparks; Dr. Bill Suttles; working for Miller, Bryant, and Pierce; working for Walter Richards at the Atlanta Novelty Company; Bishop Arthur Moore of the North Georgia Methodist Conference; studying journalism; working as a cub reporter at the Atlanta Journal; Jack Nelson; sports journalism in high school for the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, the Savannah Morning News, the Atlanta Constitution; managing editor of the Signal, Georgia State University newspaper; Charlie Emmerich; Don Carter; Jimmy Carter; Central Atlanta Project; meeting his wife Tally at the Journal; colleagues and reporters while Sweat was with the Journal; Charlie Pou; Doug Kilker, M.L. St. John, Mike Edwards, Aubrey Morris, Orville Gaines, John Still; covering Fulton County; the Fulton County Commission of Charlie Brown and Jim Aldredge; Milton Farris; Tom Camp; Archie Lindsay; Harold Sheats; Mayor William Hartsfield; Joe Hamilton; DeKalb County; Scott Candler; Wheat Williams; Sweat drafted into the Navy; James C. Davis; duties in the Navy; Combat Information Center; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Lonnie King; SNCC; Sweat's involvement with Kennedy call to King in 1960; Charlie Emmerich, Sweat and desegregation of DeKalb County facilities.

Subjects: Nonprofit organizations | Race relations | Reporters and reporting--Georgia--Atlanta | Hartsfield, William Berry | Carter, Jimmy, 1924- | Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.) | 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 and Shep Barbash, 14 November 1996, P-2, Series P. Dan Sweat (P), Georgia Government Documentation Project, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library, Atlanta.
Persistent Link to Item:

Related Institutions: Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections
Collection Information: Georgia Government Documentation Project