Skip to main content

Georgia Government Documentation Project: P

A guide to the Georgia Government Documentation Project oral history collection.

Series P. Dan Sweat

Series P: Dan Sweat (P)

The interviews in this series were conducted by Georgia Government Documentation Project director Cliff Kuhn and writer Shep Barbash, who was working on a book about the Atlanta Project. Kuhn and Barbash held the interviews at Sweat's apartment in the Bedford Pines neighborhood of Atlanta. Sweat was terminally ill at the time of the interviews, which began in November of 1996 and ran through January of 1997. Sweat recounts his life in public service, and the interviews are marked by stories and anecdotes about the recent history of Atlanta. The collection consists of 16 taped interviews.

Sweat was born in 1933 in Waycross, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia State College (later Georgia State University) in 1957 with a degree in public administration. He married his wife Tally in 1956, and they had three children and several grandchildren.
Sweat covered the Fulton County courthouse for the Atlanta Journal while still in college. In 1957 he entered the Navy, where his commander allowed him to attend Seventh Fleet scheduling conferences.
Sweat later returned to Atlanta, and the Journal, but later took at job as information director at DeKalb County. County Commission chairman Charles O. Emmerich took Sweat under his wing, but lost his reelection bid in 1964.
Emmerich then took a job with Economic Opportunity Atlanta, a new federal anti-poverty program, and took Sweat with him. Sweat earned a reputation as a master at getting federal grants.
Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. eventually offered Sweat a position at City Hall. Sweat took a job in 1966 as director of government liaison, charged with bringing as much federal money to Atlanta as possible. Eventually Allen promoted Sweat to chief administrative officer in August of 1969.
Sweat kept the same job under Mayor Sam Massell, who succeeded Allen. He coordinated Atlanta's War on Poverty and Model Cities programs during his tenure at City Hall. Sweat also played a role in the naming of the first two black department heads in city government.
Sweat left City Hall in late 1971, and early the next year took a job as executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission. He was involved in establishing the Chattahoochee River Corridor, and helped the commission survive its initial court challenges.
In 1973, Sweat became president of Central Atlanta Progress. In that role he represented downtown business interests, and gained the reputation as a major power broker in Atlanta. Sweat bridged the gap between new black political power at City Hall and the white downtown business establishment.
He was involved in numerous high profile downtown projects, including the redevelopment of both Underground Atlanta and the Bedford Pines neighborhood.
Sweat left CAP in 1988 and took a job with the CF Foundation, a philanthropic organization affiliated with developer Thomas G. Cousins.
In 1991, former President Jimmy Carter appointed Sweat coordinator of the Atlanta Project. Sweat helped raise $14 million in his first year on the job. He left in 1995.
These interviews were conducted during an illness that resulted in Sweat's death in 1997. His condition during the interviews had an impact on the content, length, and structure of the interviews.

For Availability Information, see the Finding Aid.

See also the Daniel E. Sweat, Jr. Papers, GGDP Manuscript Collections

Series P Oral Histories

Sweat, Dan (P-1)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash
November 13, 1996
62 pp.

Among topics discussed: Carter Center; CF Foundation; Atlanta Project's perceived threat to non-profit groups; President Jimmy Carter's meeting with the Concerned Black Clergy; Reverend Joseph Lowery; Bishop John Hurst Adams; Tim McDonald; John Cox; United Way; Mark O'Connell; relationship between the Carter Center, Atlanta Project, and the Olympic movement; Juan Samaranch; Billy Payne; A.D. Frazier; Alliance for Human Services; ACOG; Bob Holder; Bob Strickland; Alicia Philipp; Kathleen Johnson; Harry West; Shirley Franklin; Jim Laney; Bill Foege; O. Wayne Rollins; beginnings and early organization of Atlanta Project; Tom Cousins; Maynard Jackson; Andrew Young; Larry Gellerstedt, Jr.; Atlanta Regional Commission; Bill Lee; Terrell Starr; Ann Cramer; John Hardman; Joe Martin; Jacob Gayle of Centers for Disease Control; Sweat's managerial style at the Atlanta Project; meeting with President George Bush; Points of Light Foundation; Gregg Petersmeyer; George Romney; Dr. Louis Sullivan; Lamar Alexander; Jack Kemp; Joe Juska; Peter Ueberroth; Jim Rouse; Doug Dean; Donna Shalala; Model Cities; Elizabeth Dole and Red Cross; Newt Gringrich's desire to work with the Atlanta Project; Prince Charles and the Prince of Wales National Business Fellows.


Sweat, Dan (P-2)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
November 14, 1996
38 pp.

Among topics discussed: Family background in Waycross; coaching; childhood activities: baseball, Key Club, school work; attitudes toward race growing up; decision to attend the Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia (now Georgia State University); Dr. George M. Sparks; Dr. Bill Suttles; working for Miller, Bryant, and Pierce; working for Walter Richards at the Atlanta Novelty Company; Bishop Arthur Moore of the North Georgia Methodist Conference; studying journalism; working as a cub reporter at the Atlanta Journal; Jack Nelson; sports journalism in high school for the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, the Savannah Morning News, the Atlanta Constitution; managing editor of the Signal, Georgia State University newspaper; Charlie Emmerich; Don Carter; Jimmy Carter; Central Atlanta Project; meeting his wife Tally at the Journal; colleagues and reporters while Sweat was with the Journal; Charlie Pou; Doug Kilker, M.L. St. John, Mike Edwards, Aubrey Morris, Orville Gaines, John Still; covering Fulton County; the Fulton County Commission of Charlie Brown and Jim Aldredge; Milton Farris; Tom Camp; Archie Lindsay; Harold Sheats; Mayor William Hartsfield; Joe Hamilton; DeKalb County; Scott Candler; Wheat Williams; Sweat drafted into the Navy; James C. Davis; duties in the Navy; Combat Information Center; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Lonnie King; SNCC; Sweat's involvement with Kennedy call to King in 1960; Charlie Emmerich, Sweat and desegregation of DeKalb County facilities.

Sweat, Dan (P-3)

Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
November 20, 1996
55 pp.

Among topics discussed: Sweat as reporter covering 1957 Atlanta bus "ride-in"; Reverend William Holmes Borders; other reporters: Billy Key, John Pennington; Rich's; Paschal's; Governor George Romney; Auburn Avenue; Mayor Ivan Allen; Points of Light Foundation; Richard Schubert; Charlie Emmerich; Aubrey Morris; covering the Georgia Waterways Commission, Chattahoochee River, Buford Dam issues; Joe Martin; Bedford-Pine project; Chattahoochee Corridor Plan; early environmental activists: Jim Mackay, Georgia Conservancy; George Berry; Sweat's experience as reporter shaped skills as a public administrator; Jay Smith; Central Atlanta Project; Andrew Young; SCLC; Hosea Williams; Sweat's acquaintances and friends in Atlanta black community; John Calhoun; Atlanta-Fulton County NAACP; Eugene Cook; Jesse Hill; Herman Russell; Martin Luther King, Sr.; citizen participation; Sweat's campaign against pornography theaters, bath houses; Wyatt T. Walker; A.T. Walden; Whitney Young; Vernon Jordan and Urban League; John Cox; why Sweat left the Atlanta Journal to work for DeKalb County; Atlanta Regional Commission; Harlan Dinkler; Richard Ashworth; League of Women Voters; National Association of Counties; Georgia Association of Counties; DeKalb County bond issue for roads, sidewalks, incinerator; Hale Heland; Matt Purvis; Herman and Eugene Talmadge; Georgia Municipal Association; Senator James Wesberry; Ben Johnson; spreading idea of regionalism; East Lake Country Club; Leroy Johnson; Phil Hammer; Plan of Improvement; opposition to regionalism; Larry McDonald; DeKalb County's role in regionalism; Pat Patillo; Jim Cherry and DeKalb County schools; Bill Graham.

Sweat, Dan (P-4)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
November 22, 1996
61 pp.

Among topics discussed: Election involving Charlie Emmerich (Sweat discusses dynamics of the election); OCS; Dekalb County; John Leak, Sweat's assistant at Central Atlanta Progress; C and S Bank; Bedford Pine and Rio; Park Central Communities; Dynamics of Dekalb County Politics; differences in South and North Dekalb County; Martin and Larry Gellerstedt; dynamics of County Politics; Al Wehunt; insight into the constituency of Dekalb county; Mayor Allen; Brince Manning; State Senator Everett Millican; summer programs for kids (busing kids to swimming, to Piedmont Park); Playlot program for kids; summer of '66; John Lindsey(Mayor of New York City); Sweat wanted to model the playlots after Lindsey's program totlots; Jim Robinson (First National Bank); Mills Lane( C and S); Dick Rich; EOA and it's beginnings; Woodruff Foundation; Leon Eplan (city planner); David Beecher; CAP grant from Federal Government (city action planning); War on Poverty in 1964; Boisfeuillet Jones; Economic Opportunity Act; Atlanta Fulton Economic Opportunity Authority; The Atlanta Project; Charles Palmer; Techwood Homes; Job Corps; Head Start concepts and VISTA programs; War on Poverty Committee chaired by Sam Giddons; Bill Terry; Dave Beecher; LBJ; Civil Rights Act; HEW; James Mackay and Charles Weltner; Carl Sanders; process of building up EOA.

Sweat, Dan (P-5)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
November 24, 1996
43 pp.

Among topics discussed: City reception involving Michael Jackson and other city dignitaries; immunization and public health issues; Chief Elderin Bell; President Carter; Ruby Lucas; Turner Board; John Hardermann; Carter Center involvement in the PR reception; dynamics of initiating the Atlanta Project; Gene Downing; Harold Mckenzie; CDC; the involvement of Emory with The Atlanta Project; discussion of the Carter Center and Emory handling finances of The Atlanta Project; Mark O'Connell's involvement with The Atlanta Project; dynamics of financing the Project; Racial dynamics of city politics at the time and how that affected The Atlanta Project; Sweat's comments on the learning experience gained through his involvement with The Atlanta Project; commentary on what The Atlanta Project did for Atlanta as far as bringing people together; dynamics of Atlanta attitudes about poverty; Atlanta corporations involvement with the poor; EOA; TAP; APS; DOT; issue of poverty surrounding the Atlanta Housing Authority; school budget vs. the Dekalb county budget; University of Atlanta's community school program; Wally Stewart; Stuart Mott and the Mott Foundation; Alan Koth and the DeKalb County Board of Health; Start Atlanta Now.

Sweat, Dan (P-6)
Interviewed by: Cliff Kuhn
November 26, 1996
61 pp.

Among topics discussed: Leadership and development of the EOA; Sweat's experience as a Naval officer and how he learned leadership from that; philosophy on what it takes to be a good leader; how he put together and supported programs; dynamics and ramifications of city government; Sweat and Mayor Allen; the weak mayor system and the Alderman of Atlanta; dynamics of securing federal funding and grants; structure of city government; organization and financing of mass transit; meeting the qualifications of DOT and HUD; Deputy George M. Berry; finance commissioner Charlie Davis; Sweat's responsibilities outside of bringing in federal dollars; financing from HEW and HUD; Mayor Allen and Vine city; the personality and nature of Mayor Allen; Summerhill and SNCC; dynamics of City Hall; Planning Department; summer of 1966; Stokley Carmichael; Summerhill episode; riots near Georgia Baptist Hospital and Dixie Hills around the time of the King funeral; King funeral weekend; SCLC; George McGovern; Sam Massell as Chief administrative officer; the Abolish Atlanta Bill; ARC; Harry West and Alan Kieper.

Sweat, Dan (P-7)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
December 2, 1996

Among topics discussed: Rabbis Epstein, Geffen, and Rothschild; Archbishop Halverman and Randy Taylor of the Central Presbyterian Church; Sugarman; synagogues of Atlanta in reference to a civic power structure; Reformed Church of New York; Buddy Innis; Tom Cousins and CAP; CAS task force; Bill Johnson of the Ritz Carlton; John Wieland; Andy Young's book on the SCLC and black Baptist preachers; Congregationalists; Timothy McDonald; Cameron Alexander; Alicia Phillip; Sweat's transfer from Massell's office; move from City Hall office to ARC; the formation and development of ARC; The Atlanta Metropolitan Planning Commission; 1960s regional planning pressure from the federal government; Fulton County Health Department and the Fulton County Hospital Authority; Grady Hospital; John Vining; Minneapolis tax sharing plan; zoning in reference to city planning; county commissioners and zoning; the Atlanta Area Transportation Study; Atlanta Magazine article by Margaret Shannon discussing ARC; ARC's responsibilities, expectations and realities.

Sweat, Dan (P-8)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash
December 5, 1996
61 pp.

Among topics discussed: Various constituencies for which Sweat has worked--county interests, the poor, business interests; Central Atlanta Progress; Sweat's political identification; Chattahoochee River Corridor Plan; Marvin Arrington; Sweat's support from activist neighborhood people; getting hired at Central Atlanta Progress; Homeless Task Force; Luce Group and Charles Loudermilk support Andrew Young; Alvin Ferst of Rich's; Billy Stern; Atlanta Regional Commission activities--Regional Transportation Plan, Air Quality Plan; Howard Brockey; Phil Hammer; EOA; reorganization and issues of Central Atlanta Progress after Sweat was hired. Possibility of acquiring Techwood-Clark Howell Homes for luxury housing; Homeless Task Force; Hosea Williams; Reverend Ted Clark; John Portman; Bedford-Pine; Benjamin Brown; interviews of Techwood-Clark Howell residents; Maynard Jackson's views on the potential luxury housing; Alliance for Human Services and homeless plans; Sweat's leadership and managerial styles; International City Managers Association; Shirley Franklin. Sweat's problem-solving and training strategies; Chattahoochee River Plan as one of Sweat's proudest accomplishments; James Mackay; Jimmy Carter; Buford Dam; real estate development in Fulton and Cobb Counties; Atlanta Regional Commission; major issues involved in Chattahoochee River Plan--growth/development, conservation/environment, historic preservation, grant monies; Bruce McGregor; Randall Roark.

Sweat, Dan (P-9)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash
December 10, 1996
12 pp.

Among topics discussed: Bedford-Pine; Central Atlanta Progress; Lee Wood; Park Central Community; Atlanta Regional Commission; Chattahoochee River and water supply issue; Fulton County Commission; Woodall property zoning issue; Judge Durwood Pye declares ARC unconstitutional.

Sweat, Dan (P-10)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
December 12, 1996
35 pp.

Among topics discussed: Woodall property and zoning issue; creation of Atlanta Regional Commission; conflict with Judge Durwood Pye about constitutionality of ARC; Bob Young, County Attorney; Harry West, Bill Bassett; Friends of the River; National Recreation Area; Jimmy Carter; Kay and Harold Mackenzie; Barbara Blum; Environmental Protection Agency; Shag Cates, chairman of the Fulton County Commission; Georgia Conservancy; Judd Houk; Sweat and Jimmy Carter interaction about the Stone Mountain Freeway; Georgia Law Number Five; Governor Lester Maddox; Senator Richard Russell's funeral; Winder, Georgia; Atlanta Police Chief Herbert Jenkins; why Sweat moved to Central Atlanta Progress; Sweat's help getting federal grants; Harold Brockey; Alvin Ferst; Tom Roberts.

Sweat, Dan (P-11)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
December 13, 1996
68 pp.

Among topics discussed: Sweat's move to Central Atlanta Progress; Central Area Study; Alvin Ferst's role in getting Sweat to CAP; Augustus "Billy" H. Sterne, Chairman of Trust Company Bank; John Portman; Harold Brockey; CAP's agenda: housing and transportation; David Crane, architect; idea of making Techwood-Clark Howell Homes luxury housing; Atlanta Regional Commission; canvassing the residents of Techwood-Clark Howell; Arthur Baxter; First National Bank of Atlanta; George Goodwin; Maynard Jackson's election as mayor of Atlanta; Sam Massell; Convention Bureau; Leadership Atlanta; Leadership Georgia; Mills Lane; Jim Robinson; Ivan Allen; International Downtown Association; Sweat as bridge between Atlanta business community and city government; Homeless Task Force; Andrew Young; Joannah Adams; Connie Curry; Bill Bolling; Frank Carter; Park Central Community; Maynard Jackson's opposition to making Techwood-Clark Howell into luxury housing; Hungry Club; Maynard Jackson and affirmative action; Emma Darnell; Atlanta Housing Authority; HUD and Neighborhood Reinvestment Land; Edwin Sterne; Ed Smith; Gordon Jones; Les Purcells; Joel Cowan; Ben Brown; Bob Wood.

Sweat, Dan (P-12)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
December 17, 1996
22 pp.

Among topics discussed: Bedford-Pine; Model Cities; Tom Cousins; John Portman; World Congress Center; Frank Carter; Joel Cowan; Phipps Land Company; Larry Gellerstedt; Harold Brockey.

Sweat, Dan (P-13)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
January 6, 1997
41 pp.

Among topics discussed: Involvement of Sweat and Central Atlanta Progress in organizing new Underground Atlanta; Joe Martin; Arthur Brookings; Underground as a public-private partnership; Colony Square; Steve Fuller; Jack Patterson; Central Atlanta Project; Michael Lomax; Dante Stephensen; Marvin Arrington; Andrew Young; Maynard Jackson; Dan Healy; Bill Calloway; Jesse Hill; Bob Strickland; Underground Improvement Festival Museum; Cecil Connally; hiring Joe Martin to head Underground Festival Development Corporation; Larry Gellerstedt; meeting Joe Martin; Bedford Pine; John Leake; Central Atlanta Progress; Clarence Stone.

Sweat, Dan (P-14)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash
January 7, 1997
28 pp.

Among topics discussed: Sweat's use of committee structures; Saul Alinsky citizen participation; cluster committee system in the Atlanta Project; War on Poverty; Jack Akers; Jimmy Carter; relationships between Atlanta communities; publicity of urban social problems after World War II; Georgia Planning Association; Sam Nunn; George Berry; Urban Life; Atlanta Regional Commission; Ivan Allen.

Sweat, Dan (P-15)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
January 8, 1997
43 pp.

Among topics discussed: Discussions of golden moments for Atlanta; 1996 Olympics; philosophical discussion of Atlanta's future; Alicia Phillip; Sweat states his expectations for the Olympics in reference to introducing thousands of people to civic action; discussion of leadership and government; Atlanta's relationship to the suburbs and to the Federal government; dynamics of government under Mayor Allen. Glory days of Atlanta City government; Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and DeKalb Chamber of Commerce; Sam Williams; dynamics of pulling together regional forces; Cousins Foundation; Metropolitan Foundation; Star System; Frank Robinson; CAP; the interview is an overview of the workings of city government and Sweat's philosophies on the subject.

Sweat, Dan (P-16)
Interviewed by: Shep Barbash and Cliff Kuhn
January 22, 1997
50 pp.

Among topics discussed: Downtown Atlanta church community; downtown loft housing; Mike Trotter; Central Atlanta Progress; Homeless Task Force; Connie Curry; Joannah Adams of Central Presbyterian Church; Bill Boling; Andrew Young; St. Luke's; Ethel Mae Matthews; Ed Loring; First Baptist Church; Tom Cousins; Anita and Jim Beaty; homeless problem; Sam Williams. Chattahoochee River Corridor Plan; Georgia Law Number 5; Atlanta Regional Commission; development of MARTA; Regional Transportation Plan; Sweat's hopes and fears for Atlanta's future; Atlanta as post-Olympic city; Governor Zell Miller. Advice on running a city: compromise, good communications; Atlanta Regional Commission; Judge Durwood Pye; James Mackay; Frank Carter.

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives

Finding Aid

Phone: (404) 413-2880
Fax: (404) 413-2881

Mailing Address:
Special Collections & Archives
Georgia State University Library
100 Decatur Street, SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3202

In Person:
Library South, 8th floor

Employee Directory