Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 071 George BerryReflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 071 George Berry

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 071 George Berry

Descriptive Summary

Title: Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 071 George Berry
Creator Berry, George J., 1937-
Dates 2009 February 2
Extent 1.0 interview
Repository Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
AbstractGeorge J. Berry went to work in the finance department of the city of Atlanta in 1962. Berry was chosen to be the deputy chief administrative officer in Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen's administration. Mayor Sam Massell promoted him to chief administrative officer during Atlanta's critical transition from primarily white to mixed race leadership. Under Mayor Maynard Jackson, Berry was appointed Commissioner of Aviation in 1978. There, he oversaw the development of terminals and runways in the Atlanta Airport. In 1983, Berry became the commissioner of Industry, Trade and Tourism for the state of Georgia. He remained in that position until 1990, when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor. Berry discusses his support for Henry Grady's vision of the New South, his work as Commissioner of Aviation, and the relationship between businesses, Georgians, and the city of Atlanta.

Administrative Information

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 071, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.


Restrictions

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.


Biographical Note

George J. Berry was born in Blairsville, Georgia, on July 5, 1937. He attended Young Harris College. Upon discharge from the U.S. Army in 1962, he went to work in the finance department of the City of Atlanta. Berry was chosen to be the deputy chief administrative officer in Mayor Ivan Allen's administration. Mayor Sam Massell promoted him to chief administrative officer during Atlanta's critical transition from primarily white to mixed race leadership. Under Mayor Maynard Jackson, Berry was appointed Commissioner of Aviation in 1978. There, he oversaw the development of terminals and runways in the Atlanta airport. In 1983, Berry became the commissioner of Industry, Trade and Tourism for the state of Georgia. He remained in that position until 1990, when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor. He left politics, and became senior vice president of Cousins Properties, Inc., a successful property development firm in Atlanta.


Scope and Content

George Berry discusses his childhood in Blairsville, Georgia. He discusses attending public schools in Blairsville, going on to Young Harris College, and enlisting in the U.S. Army.

Berry recalls identifying with the New South movement and his attempt to seek employment in Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen's administration. He discusses his jobs in the tax office, finance department, and administrating governmental grants. Berry recalls the larger grants being associated with the expansion of Hartsfield Airport. He comments on being appointed Deputy Chief Administrative Officer in the Mayor's Office. Berry comments on Mayor Allen's leadership during the Civil Rights Movement. He also comments on Ivan Allen's successor Sam Massell.

Berry discusses the transition from the Board of Aldermen to the City Council under Mayor Maynard Jackson. He recalls Mayor Jackson appointing him as commissioner of aviation and the issues faced by the airport expansion. Berry discusses his relationship with the business leaders and misunderstandings between business and politics.

Berry recalls the increase of foreign company involvement in Georgia he witnessed as the Commissioner of Industry and Trade. He attributes this to the success of the airport and recalls being appointed commissioner by Governor Joe Frank Harris.

Berry discusses his unsuccessful campaign for Lieutenant Governor and his work after public service. He describes the East Lake project led by Tom Cousins. Berry discusses his work on the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority. He also discusses problems faced by the state and the prospective for the New South vision to be recognized.


Related Collections in this Repository

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 148 George Berry on James Carmichael

Reflections on Georgia Politics Oral History Collection, ROGP 000-02 George Berry on James Carmichael

George J. Berry Collection of Photographs


Access Points

Allen, Ivan, 1877-1968
Atlanta Board of Aldermen.
Civil rights movements--Georgia.
Georgia. Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Harris, Joe Frank, 1936-
Jackson, Maynard, 1938-2003
Massell, Samuel, 1927-
Mayors--Georgia.
Olympic Games (26th : 1996 : Atlanta, Ga.)
Oral histories.
Political campaigns--Georgia.
Politicians--Georgia.
Young Harris College.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 
ROGP 071 George Berry video ( 61.0 minutes ) VIEW ONLINE
 
ROGP 071 George Berry transcript VIEW ONLINE