Thursday, March 20, 2014

Georgia On My Mind

We crossed into Georgia yesterday afternoon and decided we did not want to hit Savannah during rush hour. We found a friendly Walmart in Brunswick, GA where we spent the night. This morning we had a 70 mile drive into Savannah. We called the Visitors Center and were assured they had a space for us. We arrived just before noon and parked in one of their RV slots. We are 49 feet, way longer than the slot and were told we would have to pay an additional fee for the car and dolly as we took up two spaces. We paid a total of $38 for three nights. We will have two full days to explore Savannah but first we quickly set up the StarChoice dish, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible as they did point out we were paying for parking, not camping.

It is very hot today and are looking through all the information to find a place for dinner.

Georgia On My Mind was written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell and was covered by Ray Charles in 1960. Ray Charles has a tumultuous history with Georgia, the State of his birth.

On March 15, 1961, not long after releasing the hit song "Georgia on My Mind" (1960), Charles (born in Albany, Georgia) was scheduled to perform for a dance at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia. However, he cancelled after learning from students of Paine College that the larger auditorium dance floor would be restricted to whites, while blacks would be obligated to sit in the Music Hall balcony; he immediately left town after letting the public know why he wouldn't be performing. The promoter sued Charles for breach of contract, Charles was fined $757 in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta on June 14, 1962. Although the 2004 film Ray portrays Charles as being banned from performing thereafter in Georgia, this was later reported to be untrue.[36] However, Charles performed again at a desegregrated Bell Auditorium concert the following year with his backup group, The Raelettes, on October 23, 1963.[37][38][39]
In 1979, Charles was one of the first of the Georgia State Music Hall of Fame to be recognized as a musician born in the state.[40] Ray's version of "Georgia On My Mind" was made the official state song for Georgia.[41]
On December 7, 2007, Ray Charles Plaza was opened in Albany, Georgia, with a revolving, lighted bronze sculpture of Charles seated at a piano.[42][not in citation given]

Here is the song. Get up and dance, all of you, Black, White, Gay, Straight... We are all welcome here.

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