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Clayton history highlighted at bookstore event

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Representatives of the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau and several local authorities on Clayton County history will gather at Barnes & Noble in Morrow this weekend to promote the county and celebrate its cultural heritage.

"Clayton Day" at Barnes & Noble will take place Saturday from 10 a.m., until 7 p.m. The event will include appearances by the Stately Oaks Plantation Living History Guild; actress Melly Meadows, who portrays "Gone with the Wind" character Scarlett O'Hara; local historian Ted Key; and Herb Bridges, historian and author of "Frankly, My Dear... : Gone With the Wind Memorabilia."

Jim McSweeney, regional administrator of the National Archives Southeast Region, will also be on hand, as will Peter Bonner, a Civil War historian, "Gone With the Wind" expert and author of "Lost in Yesterday," which ties the characters and scenes found in Margaret Mitchell's famous novel to people and places in Clayton County.

Barbara Bird, community relations manager for Barnes & Noble in Morrow, said books on the Civil War and Georgia history will be on display during the event and that throughout the day, shoppers will be able to donate a portion of their purchases to the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"It [the donation] applies to anything in the store, even a cup of coffee," she said. "It's really a celebration of Clayton County. What they want to do and what we want to do is put it out there that there are a lot of great places to visit in Clayton County."

Beth Bailey, vice president of sales and promotions for the convention and visitors bureau, said Clayton Day is part of the county's 150th anniversary celebration. She said the event will be used not only to promote Clayton County's history, but also its attractions.

"Right now, everybody is staying closer to home," she said. "A lot of people forget what is already in their backyard. We hope that locals will come see our attractions and when their family comes into town, they'll want to show off their county."

Key, one of several historians to speak during Clayton Day, will discuss the origins of Clayton County, some of its earliest white, black, and Native-American settlers, and the Strawn Trail, an early trading route between the Creek and Cherokee tribes which passes through Fayette County, Jonesboro and Stone Mountain.

He said Saturday will be a rare opportunity for those interested in learning about the county's origins.

"This is the first time I can remember that so many people who have written about Clayton County, who have taught about Clayton County, will be in the same place," Key said. "This opens up a great chance for them to know about where they live and who is responsible for helping the area grow from woods to a thriving metropolitan area."

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On the net:

Clayton County anniversary: www.celebrateclayton150.com