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Robots built by students replaces Harlem Globetrotters

Robots built by students replaces Harlem Globetrotters


This video has nothing to do with Native American history, but it was so cool that I thought y’all would enjoy seeing it.   Georgia Tech’s Public Relations Department just sent the video to me.  The robot sinks the ball in the basket 100% of the time.  Elementary physics . . . my dear Watson.


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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Dear Richard Thornton:

    I have been reading your very interesting postings online for months now and have come to realize that you are a person I need to talk to about the Atlanta’s Chattahoochee Brick Company site. I have been embroiled in the fight to protect the site since 2011 (or so) when Doug Blackmon (Slavery by Another Name) and I alerted the Atlanta City Council as to the historical significance of the site — to wit, its connection to convict leasing and the sad fact that its then-owner, the General Shale Brick Company, was intent on flattening the site. We argued then that, if left to its own designs, General Shale would eradicate what remained of the physical evidence of CBC’s involvement with the terrible post-Civil War penal system known as convict leasing. FYI people — mostly Black ‘convicts’ — were tortured, killed, and buried, on the site — and you can read what I said about it back when in an article/interview with me in the AJC (online) authored by Rich McKay. As it turned out, Doug and I were able to stall the destruction just short of a place where one of the company’s construction documents indicates that burials took place.

    I’ve also written much more on the specifics of convict leasing at CBC, and what that story meant for the fiuture development of the city of Atlanta from Reconstruction … until now. It is distilled into an essay entitled “Bricks and Bones” viewable online. More to the point, it is the transcript of a conference paper that I gave at ACSA around 2012 … and have since re-delivered, variously, at U.Ga, Georgia Tech in 2016, and the GA Archives last year.

    For purposes I won’t go into here, I have reason to want to consider the historic development of the site — just off 285 where it crosses the Chattahoochee River — prior to its industrialization into a brickyard around 1878. And I would like to imagine it in a condition around the time of the first white settlers in the place we now know as Atlanta. I know that you believe that there was Spanish exploration that came up the Chattahoochee and consider the possibility that there may have Meso-American colonization too. But I am more interested right now in whether or not there may have been Creek settlement — or other native inhabitation — at the confluence of Proctor Creek and the Chattahooochee. I know about Standing Peachtree and your online postings have filled me in on Sandtown and Buzzard’s Roost as well as the settlement that used to exist under 6 Flags. Proctor is just upstream from these … meaning it would be near other native sites. I am also aware that the Proctor/Chattahoochee confluence is flood plain and that perhaps it was not an ideal place for settlement (though, parenthetically, I note that Buzzard’s Roost was/is an island, hence target for flooding, yet it was nonetheless settled.)

    So, my first question has to do with whether or not you know if there was some sort of native settlement at the confluence of Proctor Creek and the Chattahoochee and what might it have looked like?

    My second question has to do with the kind of architecture that might there have existed there. Your 3-D massing models for similar sites (viewable online) suggest round, and I’m assuming vegetative dwelling enclosures as well as flat-topped mounds, some square-ish in plan (though Ocmulgee’s big mound is hardly geometric in any sense) or pentagonal mounds, which, I believe you argue, were alligned to the movement of the sun at particular times of year. Could or did such structures exist here?

    My third question has to do with the Adena peoples — I live in Pittsburgh at the head of the Ohio Valley — and my thought is that so much of the architecture that you describe in the Chattahoochee River system so closely resembles moundworks that we find between here to Cincinnati. It seems as though migration from this Valley, through the Kentucky and Tennessee Rivers systems, to the Chattahoochee would have been relatively easy for the early native peoples. Could the mound forms that we know to have been extant in GA have been transmitted by the Adena, or other Cahokian peoples?

    One last thing — I’m not an archaeologist, but an architectural historian and architect and my questions have to do primarily with the built, material evidences left by the early settlers of the Chattahoochee Valley/Basin. (FYI I’m also not an Americanist — my Ph.D. was on 19th and 20th century France, so excuse me if I sound like a novice). What I hope to do with this information is the topic of what will have to be another and much more involved conversation, one I would be glad to have with you at a phone number that I will not post online (but Tonya Beattie should now know).

    BTW it is nice to know that you are trained as an architect and that I will be able to talk with someone conversant with matters specifically architectonic in nature. One last thing, if I am not here, my phone answers with a pre-recorded voice “Please leave a message.” That’s not me but instead ATT’s idea of a fictive man’s voice. Give me your phone number at the attached email address, and I’ll strive to back to you.

    Thank you for your time.

    Richard Becherer, Ph.D. (formerly of SPSU, now retired)

    P.S. Tonya Evans Beattie passed on your email to me, and I am very grateful for the contact. I have not shared this information with anyone apart from her. But, my, what a long email address! I hope that I’ve managed to accurately type it out … and I also hope that AOL still exists. Does it still exist? I guess I’ll find out, won’t I? RB

    P.P.S. My email to you bounced back (leaving my apprehensions about AOL very much intact) hence my posting here … RB

    • Hey Richard,

      I am going to respond to your questions via regular email.

      Richard T.


    Hey Richard
    Rube Goldberg would be proud!!!! Way to go Tech!!!

    • Although the video was off-topic, I thought that y’all would enjoy it.


    Fun Stuff Richard!


    Hi Richard, I can’t believe this. As a young girl I was a fan of The Harlem Globe trotters I guess that was when they were quite young and becoming popular. One of the team was named Dribble so I guess you would know why On one occasion they were in England and put in an appearance at some hall which I cannot remember. My parents took me to see them and I was allowed to go on stage and meet them personally. I did have photo’s of this occasion but sadly have got lost during moving house. I expect the team now is not the original team even so I would love to see them again. Thanks for bringing back a child hood memory.


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