Blue Ridge, Cuthbert, McRae-Helena, Monticello, Summerville, and Thomaston were selected.
Throughout Georgia’s history, rural communities and people have been vital. People have met at crossroads to build businesses, schools, houses of worship, and transportation hubs. Governors, state officials, entrepreneurs, and leaders in education, sports, and military have grown up in rural Georgia. Rural Georgia has provided much of the state’s food, fuel, and fiber, and agribusiness remains Georgia’s leading industry. Tourism is Georgia’s second-leading industry, and rural Georgia is home to many of the state’s unique landscapes and sites for outdoor recreation.
Rural Georgia has changed as people have moved in and out. Census demographers classify 124 of Georgia’s 159 counties as rural, totaling 75 percent of the state’s land mass. Yet just 17 percent of the state’s 10 million residents live in these rural counties.
Change is an inevitable part of any community’s life. How can residents, businesses, civic groups, and government come together to shape our future? Dialogue and conversation—grounded in history and literature—can offer space for envisioning the future and identifying paths for responding to change in communities that host Georgia Crossroads.
Georgia Crossroads, an exploration of the past, present, and future of rural Georgia, will take place from August 2019 through June 2020. At the center of this initiative will be an exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program Crossroads: Change in Rural America, which will travel to six rural communities in Georgia.