The Georgia Business History Initiative
Each year the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) selects iconic companies in our state to be honored through the Georgia Business History Initiative (BHI). By showcasing these companies, GHS seeks to teach students of all ages about the pivotal role of Georgia’s leading businesses in the economic, cultural, and social development of Georgia and the United States.
For each honoree participating in the initiative, a new historical marker is developed to share the story of that company’s contribution to the development of our state and nation. Markers are erected at a site of historical significance to the company and can be found online through the GHS Historical Marker website and mobile app.
The Georgia Business History Initiative also includes the development of educational materials about each BHI honoree to enrich student understanding of the businesses that built Georgia. These resources can include a company profile, a case study in the company’s industry, and classroom activities correlated to state and national performance standards.
BHI educational materials are available for free on the GHS website as full color, downloadable PDFs. New BHI materials are added each year as more businesses are selected for Georgia’s Business History Initiative.
New BHI Educational Materials
One of the most recent honorees, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), dedicated a new historical marker in January 2020, recognizing the company’s 75th anniversary. The educational material developed for GPA as part of the Business History Initiative shares the history and significance of Georgia’s ports from the founding of the Georgia colony through today, focusing specifically on the Port of Savannah as one of the busiest and fastest-growing ports in the country.
The case study explores the eighth grade Georgia Studies educational standard: SS8E1 Explain how the four transportation systems (road, air, water, and rail) of Georgia contribute to the development and growth of the state’s economy.
Through this brand-new material students can learn the ways in which the Interstate Highway System, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, deepwater ports, and railroads interact to make Georgia the “transportation hub” of the southeast and how GPA supports the exchange of goods and services domestically and internationally. Students can also learn how GPA directly and indirectly supports hundreds of thousands of jobs for Georgians.
The GPA BHI educational material includes related vocabulary, a historical timeline of the port of Savannah, and primary sources from GHS collections featuring the history of trade and commerce in the state.
Other BHI Honorees and Educational Materials: