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MORELAND: ERSKINE CALDWELL

Erskine CaldwellI am proud to be one of your fellow citizens. Erskine Caldwell in a 1964 letter of congratulations to Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.Erskine Caldwell Birthplace and Museum

Erskine Caldwell was born in a simple wooden house near Moreland on December 17, 1903. The house has been moved to Moreland's town square where it is now a museum and the centerpiece of a friendly southern town that the author of God's Little Acre and Tobacco Road understood best: a crossroads of farms, churches and general stores.

The son of a Presbyterean minister and a schoolteacher, young Erskine lived in almost every southern state as his father moved from church to church. His mother Caroline taught Latin and English and wrote articles in religious journals that sought compassion for the down-and-out. His father Ira used his pulpit to speak against the racism and poverty that were prevalent in the South of the early 20th Century.

Caldwell mobilized his writing to writing to continue the campaigns of his parents in favor of helping the socially and racially oppressed people of the South. His first book, The Bastard, had a very provocative title for 1929. Later, when Caldwell went on a book tour for God's Little Acre to New York, he was arrested and copies of The Bastard were seized at the instigation of the New York Literary Society. A trial exonerated the fearless southern writer who counter-sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution.

  Sign for Erskine Caldwell Birthplace Erskine Caldwell General Store  
 

Building in Moreland

Sign for Erskine Caldwell
Birthplace
Erskine Caldwell

General Store turned Art Gallery

 

For a decade, Caldwell was married to famous photographer Margaret Bourke-White, and he served as a foreign correspondent to the USSR during World War II. Bourke-White and Caldwell collaborated on You Have Seen Their Faces in 1937. During the remainder of his life after World War II, Caldwell's best books focused on his travels and featured an uncompromising look into the viewpoints of the segregated South. In Search of Bisco chronicled his search through the South during the 1960s for a black playmate of his childhood. In the book, Caldwell reported vicious attitudes by white Southerners toward the Civil Rights Movement and startled the nation. For the duration of his life as a writer, Caldwell fought social injustice with truth-telling in both his novels and his non-fiction works.

  Church in Moreland Pavilion named for Lewis Grizzard A home in Newnan, the "City of Homes"  
 

Church in Moreland

Pavilion named for Lewis Grizzard

A home in Newnan, the "City of Homes"

 

Moreland is also the home of Lewis Grizzard, a popular Southern humorist and writer who died in 1994 at age 48. Witty observations and slang-filled deliveries made Grizzard a popular live performer who once said, I am the only person in the history of Moreland, Georgia to ever be on the New York Times Best Seller List. I'm the only person in the history of Moreland,
Georgia who ever heard of the New York Times Best Seller List.

  Coweta County Courthouse Confederate Soldier Statue, Newnan A house in Newnan Cemetery statuary, Moreland  
 

Coweta County Courthouse

Confederate Soldier
Statue, Newnan
A house in Newnan near Moreland

Cemetery statuary, Moreland

 

 

  New Georgia Encyclopedia

For more information on Erskine Caldwell, link here to his listing in the New Georgia Encyclopedia supported by the Georgia Humanities Council.

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Erskine Caldwell

 
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