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Athens Historical Society Event with Michael Thurmond

 James Oglethorpe, Father of Georgia: A Founder’s Journey from Slave Trader to Abolitionist by Michael L. Thurmond
Event date: 
Sunday, February 25, 2024 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Event Location

Athens-Clarke County Library
2025 Baxter Street
Athens, GA 30606

The Athens-Clarke County Library Heritage Room and the Athens Historical Society invite you to an afternoon with the author, Michael L. Thurmond in celebration of his book James Oglethorpe, Father of Georgia: A Founder’s Journey from Slave Trader to Abolitionist. This event is on Sunday, February 25, 2024, from 3-4:30pm at the Athens-Clarke County Library.

For accessibility requests, contact Please submit your request at least two weeks before the event.


James Oglethorpe, Father of Georgia uncovers how Oglethorpe’s philosophical and moral evolution from slave trader to abolitionist was propelled by his intellectual relationships with two formerly enslaved Black men. Oglethorpe’s unique “friendships” with Ayuba Suleiman Diallo and Olaudah Equiano, two of eighteenth-century England’s most influential Black men, are little-known examples of interracial antislavery activism that breathed life into the formal abolitionist movement. Utilizing more than two decades of meticulous research, fresh historical analysis, and compelling storytelling, Michael L. Thurmond rewrites the prehistory of abolitionism and adds an important new chapter to Georgia’s origin story.


Thurmond is the chief executive officer of DeKalb County, Georgia. He is the author of Freedom: An African-American History of Georgia, 1733–1865, and A Story Untold: Black Men and Women in Athens History. Thurmond has previously served in the Georgia legislature, as director of Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services, as Georgia labor commissioner, and as superintendent of DeKalb schools. In 1997 Thurmond became a distinguished lecturer at the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

James Oglethorpe, Father of Georgia: A Founder's Journey from Slave Trader to Abolitionist By Michael L. Thurmond, James F. Brooks (Foreword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780820366043
Availability: May be on our shelves (or available in 5-10 business days)
Published: University of Georgia Press - February 15th, 2024