I am from Atlanta. Before anyone reading this gets offended, I want everything I say to be understood as coming from the perspective of an Atlantan writing about my own place of birth. My mother was from Atlanta, as were her parents, so I am not just a transient son, but truly an Atlanta native.
Atlanta is not a Southern city. It has Southerners in it, but so does New York, Los Angeles, and practically every city in America. As they say, you can take the man out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the man. But Atlanta is not a Southern city. I truly believe if it were so very Southern, it would have served as the capital of the Confederacy in the Civil War. It was more strategically placed, more developed in infrastructure, and also a capital of one of the largest states in the Confederacy. But Atlanta was not trusted then. It was not trusted because it was founded by Northern railroad money as a depot (it's original name was Terminus). It was destroyed, and then it was rebuilt with Northern investors (among them, ironically, William Tecumseh Sherman, its destroyer). In recent years, it has been revitalized and renewed by money from all over the world. It is a city full of transients, and while (as I said before) many of them are Southerners, plenty of them are from everywhere else, too. Compare it to Savannah, Georgia, a beautiful genteel city full of Southern history, Southern ways, and Southerners (and not so much of anything else). Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the largest Southern cities - it is still largely Southern in its makeup, and it even has rocking chairs in the airport. But to understand why Atlanta is not a Southern city, it is necessary to ask anyone from the "true South" (the rural South) if Atlanta is a Southern city. They will kindly oblige you with a "Heck No" if they're being respectful.
I actually had a roommate hating me within a few days of my moving in because I did not join him in trying to convince our NJ roommate that the South was perfect, and indeed Heaven on Earth. I simply asked him, "Have you ever been to South Georgia?" he asked me something rather crude that should not be repeated to basically inquire whether I was trying to prove my Southerness, to which I said "I just want to know if you've ever been to South Georgia." He informed me he had, once. For about an hour. To that I explained "Then you do not know what the South really is."
My point to him was that the South, wonderful as it is, definitely has its flaws. In the places outside Atlanta, there are farmers who struggle to get by, and people who think going off to college means attending the local community college, or if they are going a long way off, the small university an hour from home. Let me be perfectly clear in saying I do not look down on the very different mindset that I observe among Southerners as compared with the more cosmopolitan perspective of Atlantans. I just see them as very different. Again, one coversation with anyone from South Georgia makes it clear that Atlanta is not in the South. The common dividing line for the North and South historically is the Mason-Dixon line, but in South Georgia they tell people from Atlanta it's the "Macon-Dixie line" (Macon being a city an hour south of Atlanta). They just don't like those "city ways" or "them Atlanta Yankees" and don't mind telling anyone as much.
I love Atlanta. Ask my wife what she sees in my eyes every time we visit and I see that beautiful skyline. I do not write this post to attack where I grew up. I just know that Atlanta has as many roots from non-Southerners as Southerners. And that ain't so bad.