The Braille Monitor                                                                                              March, 2004

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Federationists Work Hard and Play Hard

by Anil Lewis

From the Editor: It's time again to think about convention tours. The Georgia affiliate has been hard at work planning to fill your free time at convention. This is what President Anil Lewis has to say about your choices this year:

Anil Lewis
Anil Lewis

The annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind requires a lot of planning by our national office staff, the host affiliate, and every Federationist committed to achieving the goals of the NFB. The national convention is our time to mark milestones, celebrate accomplishments, plan for our future, train Federationists, educate society, and reenergize ourselves. As I say, it requires a lot of hard work by everyone who attends. And we all know the old adage about all work and no play. For this reason many Federationists build in a little time to vacation during convention.

Because our convention hotels, the Marriott Marquis and the Hilton, are conveniently located near Atlanta's public transportation system, MARTA, many conventioneers will probably choose to explore our lovely city on their own. Underground Atlanta, Centennial Park, and the World of Coca-Cola are a simple train or bus ride away. But for those who would appreciate a more structured exposure to some of Atlanta's attractions and would like to venture a little farther from the convention site, the Georgia affiliate has developed several tours for your enjoyment. Tour day this year is Saturday, July 3. All tours will depart from the hotel in the afternoon or evening of Saturday, the third.


Gone with the Wind
($25 adults, $15 children)

The Margaret Mitchell House was built in 1899 by Cornelius J. Sheehan. The two-story, single-family home on fashionable Peachtree Street was converted in 1919 into a ten-unit apartment building. It was here, from 1925 until 1932, that Margaret Mitchell lived in apartment no. 1 and wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gone with the Wind.

This is a docent-led tour lasting one to one-and-a-half-hours with exclusive photographs and archival exhibits that begin to tell the story of Margaret Mitchell beyond Gone with the Wind. The tour starts in the Visitors' Center with "A Woman in a Man's World: Margaret Mitchell, Reporter," an exhibit of Jazz Age journalism that explores the popular weekly columns Mitchell wrote for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. The tour continues into the house, through the apartment where she wrote Gone with the Wind, and finally to the new Gone with the Wind Movie Museum. This museum, which opened on December 15, 1999--the sixtieth anniversary of the movie premiere in Atlanta--illuminates the making of the movie, the premiere, and legacy with memorabilia from the Herb Bridges collection and the doorway of Tara from the movie set. Your experience at this historic site ends with an opportunity to enjoy the Museum Shop, complete with unique gifts, souvenirs, and Gone with the Wind collectibles and memorabilia.

For specific information about this tour, call (404) 249-7015 or visit <>.

Civil War
($25 adults, $15 children under thirteen)

The Gone with the Wind tour can be complemented with a tour of Atlanta by Peter Bonner with an emphasis on the Civil War. Peter Bonner's Historical and Hysterical Tours began as a dream back in 1996. The tour company combines Peter's two great loves--history and entertainment. His programs have delighted people of all ages, from the school children who marvel at the heaviness of the black powder gun to the senior citizens who remember similar stories told to them by their grandparents. Peter's emphasis is always on the human side of the story, which is often as hysterical as it is historical.

This well-orated bus tour of Atlanta's historic sites will be both educational and entertaining. The tour will last approximately three hours. For specific information about this tour, call 770-477-8864 or visit <>.

Civil Rights
($25 adults, $15 children under thirteen)

Atlanta is home to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. No civil rights tour can compare to a visit to the birth home of Dr. King, a gospel concert at the celebrated Ebenezer Baptist Church, a tour of the Martin Luther King historic site and visitors center, and a stroll down historic Auburn Avenue.

Just past noon on January 15, 1929, a son was born to the Reverend and Mrs. Martin Luther King in an upstairs bedroom of 501 Auburn Avenue, in Atlanta, Georgia. The couple named their first son after the Rev. King, but he was simply called M.L. by the family. During the next twelve years this fine, two-story Victorian home is where M.L. would live with his parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and their boarders. The home is located in the residential section of Sweet Auburn, the center of black Atlanta. Two blocks west of the home is Ebenezer Baptist Church, the pastorate of Martin's grandfather and father. It was in these surroundings of home, church, and neighborhood that M.L. experienced his childhood. Here M.L. learned about family and Christian love, segregation in the days of Jim Crow laws, diligence, and tolerance. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. returned to Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1960. As co-pastor with his father, Daddy King, Dr. King Jr. would preach about love, equality, and nonviolence.

For specific information about this tour, call 404-526-8900 or visit <>.

Touch the Future
($25 adults, $15 children under thirteen)

The NFB of Georgia is working with the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children to develop a tour beyond this world. The NFB, with the cooperation of the Fernbank Science Center, will enhance the visual experience of the Fernbank Planetarium with tactile and audible information that will allow blind children and adults to experience outer space more fully. The planetarium is a celestial theater in the round, using the complex Zeiss Mark V planetarium projector and a variety of special-effects projectors to guide the audience through the wonders of the universe. At seventy feet in diameter, the planetarium is one of the largest in the United States, and is dedicated to teaching and public enrichment. For specific information about this tour, call (678) 874-7102 or visit <>.

Stone Mountain National Park
($25 adults, $15 children under thirteen)

The high-relief carvings on the side of Stone Mountain.
The high-relief carvings on the side of Stone Mountain.

On 3,200 gorgeous acres just sixteen miles east of downtown Atlanta, the stories of the South come to life at Stone Mountain Park. The mountain itself is the world's largest mass of exposed granite. The centerpiece of the park--and one of the true marvels of western engineering--is found on the mountain's north side, where you'll see the world's largest high-relief carving, depicting three heroes of the American Confederacy.

We plan to have one bus leave in the afternoon so that you can enjoy the park's breathtaking scenery, pristine lakes, forestland, beautiful gardens, and miles of nature trails. The park also features an enormous variety of recreational and entertainment facilities, including family-oriented attractions, tennis, golf, fishing, hiking, and camping. Another bus will leave in the evening, just in time for those interested only in enjoying the spectacular laser show at the mountain. For more information about this marvelous park, visit <>.


Agatha's Dinner Theater
($45 adults, no children)

Agatha's is a comedy murder mystery dinner theater with audience participation. All shows are original comedy murder mystery plays that take place in the dining room between the courses of the meal. The show currently scheduled for July is Law and Odor: O.P.U. There is no stage; the actors move throughout the audience, so you can see and hear from all seats. Two professional actors carry the show, and the rest is up to the audience. Participation is encouraged but not required.

Agatha's serves a five-course meal of appetizers, soup, salad, choice of entree, and dessert. Once audience members are seated, the waiters review the entrees, and you make your choices at that time. Wine is served with dinner, beginning with the soup course.

For specific information about this tour, call (404) 875-4321, or visit <>.

Braves Baseball
($25 adults, $15 children under thirteen)

Of course we will have tickets to the Atlanta Braves game on July 3. It's a night game against Boston, with fireworks on the field and in the air. For specific information about this tour, call (404) 522-7630, or visit <>

If you are interested in any of the tours described here, please sign up early. Checks or money orders made out to the NFB of Georgia should be mailed to the Georgia affiliate at NFB of Georgia, P.O. Box 6859, Atlanta, Georgia 30343. Payment should include a note listing the tour and number of adult and children's tickets being ordered.

An adult must accompany all children. Be sure to note that the deadline for preregistration and cancellations is June 18, 2004. Any remaining tickets will be available for sale during convention at the Georgia information table. Also keep in mind that the prices quoted are dependent on guaranteed minimum attendance. The prices for tours include buses, experienced guides, and sales tax and admissions where applicable. Tours leave from the Courtland Street entrance of the Marriott Marquis, which is just across the street from the Hilton.

These are simply the preliminary tours that the Georgia affiliate is coordinating; watch for additional tours in future issues of the Monitor. We continue to work toward more tours, like Six Flags Over Georgia and Cyclorama/Zoo Atlanta. If you have any questions, suggestions, or special requests for places you would like to visit while you are here, please call the affiliate line (866) 316-3242, and let us know.

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