Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 042 Elliott LevitasReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 042 Elliott Levitas

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 042 Elliott Levitas

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 042 Elliott Levitas
Creator: Levitas, Elliott Harris, 1930-
Dates: 2008 August 1
Extent: 1.0 interview
Collection Number: RBRL/220/ROGP
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Elliot Levitas was elected as a Democrat to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1964 and later served as a U.S. Representative from Georgia's 4th congressional district. In this interview he talks about his long career in politics, including the seating of Julian Bond, the gubernatorial appointment of Lester Maddox, and the independent election of the speaker of the house. He also recalls chairing the State Planning and Community Affairs Committee, serving as a member of the Judiciary Committee, and sponsoring the Chattahoochee Bill, which sought to protect the river from pollution and development.

Collection Description

Biograhical note

Elliott Harris Levitas was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 26, 1930. He graduated from Emory University, and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He served in the Strategic Air Command of the U.S. Air Force. In 1956, he received his Juris Doctor from the Emory University School of Law. At the University of Michigan, he spent a year in additional legal studies, returning to Atlanta to join the law firm of Arnall Golden Gregory, LLP. In 1965, Levitas was elected as a Democrat to the Georgia House of Representatives. He was involved in many issues, including the seating of Julian Bond, the gubernatorial appointment of Lester Maddox, and the independent election of the speaker of the house. He was chairman of the State Planning and Community Affairs Committee, and a member of the Judiciary Committee. He was the sponsor of the Chattahoochee Bill, which protected the river from pollution and development. In 1964, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Levitas was elected to the U.S. Congress, and served from 1975 to 1985. He served as the main lawyer in the dispute against Anne Gorsuch-Burford and the mismanagement of the EPA.

Scope and Content

Elliot Levitas discusses his early life after his family immigrated to the United States and moved to Atlanta. He describes the events leading up to recieving a Rhodes Scholarship, his time reading law at Oxford and his subsequent study at Emory night law school.

Levitas recalls his work alongside Ellis Arnall, Walt Disney, Roy Lambert, Milton Jones, Reed Harris, Robin Harris, George L. Smith, Lester Maddox, Jimmy Carter, and Jim Baker.

Levitas explains how he became interested in politics because of the malapportioned county unit system. He discusses his successful campaign for a seat in the Georgia House and voting on issues such as the seating of Julian Bondand the 1967 gubernatorial election.

Levitas recalls his chairmanship of the State Planning and Community Affairs Committee and participation in the Judiciary Committee. He notes the rise of environmentalism and preservation efforts and his introduction of the Chattahoochee River Bill. Levitas discusses chairing the legislative committee that created MARTA. Levitas talks about his campaign for the Fourth Congressional District, including the slogan, interacting with people at malls, and using an RV as a mobile election office. Levitas also discusses issues of FAA and air traffic control safety, Congressional recesses and vacations, excessive government regulations, and accountability of governmental administration of Indian lands.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Custodial History note

Reflections on Georgia Politics began in the fall of 2006 at Young Harris College, as a lecture and discussion program hosted by Georgia political veteran Bob Short. In late 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library began producing the program as an oral history video series to further illuminate and personalize the tectonic shifts that occurred in Georgia politics in the late twentieth century.

Preferred citation

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 042, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Copyright Information

Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2013.


Related Materials

Access Points

Arnall, Ellis Gibbs, 1907-1992.
Bond, Julian, 1940-
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Emory University.
Environmental policy--Georgia.
Georgia--General Assembly--House of Representatives.
Georgia. Governor (1967-1971 : Maddox)
Governors--Georgia--Election--History--20th century.
Harris, Reid Walker, 1930-
Jones, Milton, 1936-
Lambert, E. Roy
Maddox, Lester G., 1915-2003.
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.
Oral histories.
Political campaigns--United States--Georgia.
Rivers--Georgia.
Smith, George Leon, 1912-1973.
University of Oxford.

Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

ROGP 042 Elliott Levitas video (Extent: 114.0 minutes ) Access Online
ROGP 042 Elliott Levitas transcript Access Online