Turning Points
Ideas from the National Archives for National History Day

Resources at
NARA's Southeast Region (Atlanta)

Civil Rights Litigation--Significant Court Cases

NARA-Southeast Region maintains a number of significant court cases related to Civil Rights litigation held in U.S. District Courts. For example, George Willis, Jr. v. The Pickrick Restaurant concerns the rights of Black citizens to eat at a public restaurant. Briggs v. Elliot, Charleston challenges segregation in public schools. This case was later combined with four others under Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, KS which became the famous suit in which the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools. Browder v. Gayle, Montgomery, AL involves the Montgomery bus boycott which began when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. This case brought Martin Luther King, Jr. to prominence as a civil rights leader. Hosea Williams, et al. v. George Wallace, et al. involves the Selma march for voting rights. Select textual documents related to these cases and others are available in the Online Catalog (OPA). They come from Record Group 21, Records of District Courts of the United States and are held by NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta.

Early Developments in Aviation--Wright Brothers' Test Flights

The records include handwritten and typewritten press reports created by Messrs. Newton, the New York Herald; Hoster, the New York American; Macgowan, the London Daily Mail; Harr, Colliers Weekly; and Salley, the Norfolk Landmark. The press reports cover a number of test flights conducted in May 1908 and, in some instances, provide specific mechanical and avionic information. Additionally, the reports provide an insight into the actual test flights, noting time-distance intervals, speed, and flight course. Select textual documents are available in the Online Catalog (OPA). They come from Record Group 27, Records of the Weather Bureau and are held by NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta.

Flight and Aeronautical Research in Outer Space--Records of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, 1954-1991*

Records that relate to research and development of various NASA projects, including Apollo 13, NOVA, NERVA, Saturn Rocket, and SKYLAB; the work of NASA boards and the work of Wernher Von Braun are available from NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta. An example of records in this collection is the history of NASA's involvement in solar energy, partly as an outgrowth of its work on space vehicles. Select textual documents are available in the Online Catalog (OPA) from Record Group 255, Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (NOTE: Access to some files or portions of documents may be restricted because of national security classification.)
*The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center was created July 1, 1960. Prior to that time, the Von Braun missile development team members were employed by the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency from 1956 until 1960, when they were transferred to NASA MSFC.

Development of Atomic Energy--Oak Ridge Operations - Public Information

During the development of atomic energy and weapons, public relations were paramount in the success of the programs. The Records of the Atomic Energy Commission (Record Group 326) outline the public relations effort in the early stages of the development of atomic energy, both for military and civilian purposes. They include documents that set forth policy on the release of information, guidelines on the level of security, and instructions to American editors and broadcasters on protecting the secrets that led to the development of the atomic bomb. Select textual documents from NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta are available in the Online Catalog (OPA).

Medical Experiments on Human Subjects--The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

This study began in 1929 as a cooperative study involving the Public Health Service, the Julius Rosenwald Fund, and the state and local health departments in six southern states. It evolved into a study of possible differences in the effects of the disease on African-Americans and Caucasians. During the study, a number of African-Americans in Tuskegee, Alabama, who were infected with syphilis were left untreated but were observed, studied, and compared to a control group which did not have the disease. The study continued until the 1970s when its existence was revealed to the public, resulting in hearings conducted by Congress and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on the ethics of medical experiments on human subjects. Select textual documents from the National Archives at Atlanta are available in the Online Catalog (OPA). They come from Record Group 442, Records of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (NOTE: Records identifying individual patients are restricted.)

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