Georgia Historical Society Announces Former United States Senator Sam Nunn to Keynote Georgia History Festival Series

2020-2021 Georgia History Festival theme “Tear Down This Wall: Georgia in Cold War America” will highlight the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Cold War

Savannah, Ga., September 23, 2020 – The Georgia Historical Society announced today that the theme and focus of study for the 2020-2021 Georgia History Festival is Tear Down This Wall: Georgia in Cold War America. The Georgia History Festival is the signature K-12 educational program of the Georgia Historical Society that reaches 250,000 students and teachers in Georgia and provides enlightening opportunities for learners of all ages.

This first-of-its-kind all-virtual fall program series will be hosted by Dr. Stan Deaton, the Dr. Elaine B. Andrews Distinguished Historian at GHS. Dr. Deaton will talk with some of the nation’s foremost scholars and leaders of the Cold War era in discussions focusing on presidential leadership, American diplomacy, the impact of the Cold War on the Civil Rights Movement, the cultural impact of the Cold War, and the continuing influence of that period on our world today.

On October 14, 2020, the series begins with a keynote interview entitled Tear Down This Wall: The Cold War at 75, A Conversation with Sam Nunn. Nunn served in the U.S. Senate for twenty-four years and was Chairman of the Armed Services Committee from 1987 until 1995. Upon retirement from the Senate, Nunn joined the law firm of King & Spalding.  In 2001, Former Senator Nunn co-founded the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to reduce the risk of use and prevent the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. In 2011, Former Senator Nunn was inducted as a Georgia Trustee by the Office of the Governor and the Georgia Historical Society. This will be a wide-ranging discussion on the impact of the Cold War on American foreign policy and national security with a man who worked with the leading Cold War warriors, from Henry Kissinger to Margaret Thatcher to Ronald Reagan to Mikhail Gorbachev.

The program is free and registration is required at The event is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company.

The series continues with three virtual events hosted by GHS in conjunction with the UVaClub of Savannah.

On October 21, Dr. William L. Hitchcock will discuss Presidential Leadership During the Cold War.  He is the William W. Corcoran Professor of History at the University of Virginia (UVA) and author of The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s (Simon & Schuster, 2018). With the presidential election coming in November, we will focus on the Cold War’s impact on American politics and presidential elections, from FDR to Clinton.

On November 19, Dr. Kevin Gaines will discuss The Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement. Gaines is the UVA Julian Bond Professor of Civil Rights and Social Justice, with a joint appointment in the Corcoran Department of History and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies. He is the author of Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture During the Twentieth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 1996). The conversation will focus on the Civil Rights Movement in America during the height of the Cold War, with the fight against Communism as a backdrop.

On December 3, 2020, the series will conclude with Dr. Grace Elizabeth Hale discussing The Cold War and Popular Culture. Hale is the UVA Commonwealth Professor of American Studies and History, author of A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America (Oxford Univ Press, 2011). The conversation will explore how the Cold War shaped American culture and society for over 40 years, and how it changed when the Cold War ended.

All programs are free and will be live via virtual platforms at 1:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted, and registration will be required. Please visit for a full listing of events.

For more information about the Georgia History Festival or the fall GHF programs please contact Pattye Meagher, GHS Director of Communications at or by cell at 434.996.7085.


Georgia History Festival Sponsors

Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
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