Dear Friend of the Americus Movement,
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Americus-Sumter County Civil Rights Movement. Even more remarkable, it is the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. historic "I Have A Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, and this year is the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Because of the historic significance this year brings, the ASCMRC is inviting the Americus Community and others, to join with us in an Americus Civil Rights Reunion to commemorate this 50th Anniversary milestone. We are again asking you to partner with us by supporting our efforts to pay tribute to the Americus Civil Rights Movement and the continuing fight for equal justice in America. Your sponsorship will aid us in hosting this years 50th Anniversary Benefit/Banquet and its' local student Scholarship Initiative.
On Wednesday, July 17th, the Commemoration will begin with an exhibition of Americus Movement documents and memorabilia which will be on display at the Lake Blackshear Public Library on Lamar Street in downtown Americus. The exhibit will be on display through September 1st.
On the weekend of August 23-24, 2013, the ASCMRC will host the fourth Bi-Annual Benefit/Banquet. We begin on Friday, August 23, with a riveting documentary film on the life of contemporary artist, Winfred Rembert, who as a teenager hitched a ride to Americus from his home in Cuthbert, to join the Americus Movement. After a near lynching by the KKK and serving several years on the Georgia Chain Gang, Mr. Rembert has gone on to become a world class visual artist whose work is being admired in galleries and museums throughout the country. A trailer of the film can be viewed at: www.allmethemovie.com. The film will be shown at the Jackson Performance Hall on the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University at 7:00pm. It is free and open to the public. Following the film, there will be a Q & A session with dialogue between the audience, the artist and the film makers. A reception will follow where patrons can view several of Mr. Rembert's original paintings that depict his life experiences in the segregated town of Cuthbert, Georgia.
On Saturday, August 24, at 1:00pm, the ASCMRC will host a civil rights symposium/panel at the GSW Jackson Performance Hall. The discussion will focus on the two historic legal decisions that so defined the Americus Movement's national impact, namely the Sedition/Insurrection trial of the "Americus Four", and the arrests of four black women which eventually led to the federal courts abolishing segregated polling stations in Sumter County.
The panel will consist of former Americus attorney Warren C. Fortson, brother of the late Secretary of State, Ben W. Fortson. Warren C. Fortson was forced to flee Americus by the KKK, for his role in trying to facilitate an Americus bi-racial committee, and for his legal defense of two black movement activists. Others on the panel will be SNCC workers Don Harris and John Perdew of the Americus Four, Rev. Willie Bolden of SCLC/SCOPE, Mrs. Lena Turner-Fulton, Mrs. Mary Kate Fishe-Tyner, Mrs. Mamie Campbell and Rev. Charles Sherrod of the Southwest Georgia Project.
Ms. Tyner was the first African American woman to qualify in the democratic primary in Sumter County, to run for the public office of Justice of the Peace. She along with three other women were arrested on the day of the election for trying to vote in the white only voting line. Their arrest and subsequent trial led to the federal courts abolishing segregated voting stations in Sumter County. A brief Q & A session with the audience will follow the symposium, and the entire exchange will be video-recorded by the GSW Media Department and streamed on line via their web site A copy of these recordings will be permanently stored in the GSW Carter library and distributed by request to attendees, scholars, civil rights historians, etc., around the country.
On Saturday evening, the ASCMRC Bi-Annual Benefit/Banquet will begin at 7:00pm at the Americus High School Gymnasium, which you all remember was integrated by four courageous students in 1964. Featured guest speaker will be Americus' own, the Honorable Dorothy Brown-Hubbard, the first woman and African American Mayor of Albany, Georgia. Proceeds from the banquet helps provide textbook scholarships for local high school students, who are awarded the prize based on a written essay and a commitment to community service. During the banquet, Humanitarian and service awards are presented to this year's recipients, which will include former President James Earl Carter, the late Mabel ("Grandma") Barnum, matriarch of the Americus Movement, Attorney Warren Fortson and late civil rights activist, Rev. R. L. Freeman of Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Americus.
President James Earl Carter will be in attendance.
The Dinner Banquet is Black Tie, and single tickets for the evening are fifty dollars. Reserved tables for eight are available for $400.00 each. The ASCMRC cordially invites all who can attend to do so, or you may choose to purchase a business, congratulatory, or personal ad in memory of a loved one, in our 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book equal to one of the levels on the enclosed form. Your continued support will help us realize our ultimate goal of establishing the Americus Civil Rights Museum and Interpretive Center.
To purchase tickets for the banquet, please call (229)329-1150 or send a
check or money order to:
P.O. Box 1383
Americus, Georgia 31709.
Additional information related to the ASCMRC and its initiatives can be accessed on our web site at: www.americusmovement.org.