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Grady Lee Randolph diaries

Collection number: ahc.MSS1002

Scope and Content

The collection contains eighty-six volumes of diaries written by Grady Lee Randolph that include memoirs, observations and analysis of daily life as a Alabama farm boy and later as a school teacher and permanent resident of Atlanta, Georgia. The collection spans from 1931 to 2001, but skips the year 1943. Randolph recorded over 20,000 daily diary entries that include observations of life during the Great Depression, and events such as the Gone With the Wind premier; World War II; the Winecoff Hotel Fire; the integration of Atlanta schools; the Civil Rights Movement; the Orly Plane Crash; the Missing and Murdered Children crisis; the Atlanta Teachers Association conflicts with the Superintendant of Atlanta Schools; and the transition to African American political leadership in Atlanta city government. Randolph's impressions of family, friends, colleagues, public officials, and events are pithy and sometimes his observations are caustic. Persons mentioned in the diaries include a wide panorama of personal friends, colleagues, and public figures. An abbreviated list of those mentioned include friends and colleagues Ernest and Jewel Silvey, Chester and Maude Elliot, Ernest and Helen Lumpkin, Randolph Thrower, Liza Paschal, Ruth Rogers, Lula Brown, Father Harry P. Hatzopoulos, Dr. John Alexander, David Wilson, Richard Katz, Douglas Harper, Ruth Rogers, Frank Adamson, Dr. James Everette De Vaugh, Louise Jeans, Bill Richards, and Byron King. In addition, Randolph frequently mentions administrators and Board members within the Atlanta school system including G. Y. Smith, H. W. Cheney, Glenn Rainey, Wesley Cook, Pete Latimer, Sara Mitchell, Obie Brewer, Glenn Frick, Willis Sutton, Ira Jarrell, Dr. John Letson, Ed Cook, Sr., Ed Cook, Jr., Jarvis Barnes, John Martin, Ruth Satterfield, Rual Stephens, Roger Derthick, Jarvis Barnes, John Martin, and Ruth Satterfield. Public figures mentioned by Grady Randolph include Dr. Rufus Clement, Morris Abrams, Celestine Sibley, Ralph McGill, Herbert Jenkins, Henry L. Bowden, Hamilton Lokey, State Senator Hoke Smith, State Senator Millican, M. M. (Muggsy) Smith, William B. Hartsfield, Ivan Allen, Jr., Sam Massell, Maynard Jackson, Bill Campbell, Ed Rivers, Eugene and Herman Talmadge, Jimmy Carter, Zell Miller, and Roy Barnes. Randolph’s thoughts about international events led him to comment on U.S. Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, as well as international figures including Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and others.


  • 1931-2001


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

Grady Lee Randolph (1915-2005) was the youngest of seven children from Tolbert Ureathus and Rosa Ella Guin Randolph. Born in O'Possum Trot, Alabama, he received his college degree from Auburn University in 1938. Grady Randolph moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in August of 1938 to accept a teaching position at Technological High School (Tech High) in the Atlanta public school system. He remained there until May of 1942 when he began training with U.S. Army Air Corps cadets at Maxwell Air Force Base. He returned to Tech High in 1943 and married Jennie Jefferies Howle on December 18 of that year. Randolph also taught at Joseph E. Brown, Sylvan Hills, and Henry W. Grady high schools. In 1960, Randolph began working at WETV (WABE channel 30) where he created and hosted programs featuring interviews of local, city, and state officials and national international visitors. The names of the programs were The Sands of Time and This Is Your City. Randolph also taught at Oglethorpe University Night School and briefly at the Evening School at Georgia State University. He received his master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1947. He and his wife Jennie earned law degrees from the Woodrow Wilson School of Law in 1953. In conjunction with his teaching career, Randolph established a lucrative law practice. The Randolphs traveled extensively and conducted personal genealogical research, resulting in the publication of Randolphs of Virginia and a memoir titled The Saga of the Darnels (When, Oh Master Will the Harvest Be?) Grady Lee Randolph died October 21, 2005. Jennie Jefferies Howle Randolph died November 17, 2007.


8.3 linear ft. (20 document cases)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2001

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2011.

Grady Lee Randolph diaries
Finding aid prepared by
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305