James Ryder Randall is embedded so deeply in Anniston lore that he is a veritable ghost, unseen and forgotten. He wasn’t born here. He didn’t die here. He isn’t buried here. His fame, lasting as it is, has absolutely nothing to do with Anniston.
He was a bit player in the omnipresent Model City myth, a poet-turned-journalist recruited away from the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle in 1887 and tasked with turning Anniston’s leading weekly newspaper, The Hot Blast, into its first daily, which he did.