So many people are talking about the importance of supporting, listening to and following Black women in rural areas in this country.
My name is Mamie Hillman and I'm asking you to step up. After 25 years of organizing, I am ready to open the Greene County African American Museum, dedicated to the empowerment of and truth-telling about African American lives in Greene County, Georgia. All I need is $30,000 to open the doors this fall. I invite you to help bring my dream to life to inspire generations of African Americans in rural Georgia.
In 1995, I had a vision to establish a center that honors the lives and legacy of African Americans in rural Georgia and Greene County specifically - the women and men on whose shoulders we stand who gave their lives so that some day Black people would be free.
The lives of Black folk in Greene County have inspired artists and scholars for generations. Sonny Terrell, one of this nation’s most distinctive Blues musicians, hails from Greene County. When he sings and strums: “That’s alright and I don’t worry cuz there will be a better day,” it is the faith of this particular people in this particular place of which he sings.
When Works Progress Administration (WPA) artists documented lives of everyday Americans in the Great Depression, writers and photographers flocked to Greene County, Georgia. Some of the career-defining photographs by artists such as Dorothea Lange and Jack Delano are of Greene County’s African American life.
When award-winning historian Jonathan Bryant wanted to document the difficulty Black people have faced to overcome the systems of oppression in this nation after the Civil War, he focused on Greene County. In the conclusion of Bryant’s gripping book How Curious A Land: Conflict and Change in Greene County, 1850-1885, he names the need to celebrate the everyday African American heroes of Greene County and also its history-making leaders - figures such as Abram Colby, born enslaved, who testified to Congress about being terrorized by the KKK for serving in the Georgia State Senate immediately after the Civil War, and the Rev. Adam Daniel Williams, grandfather of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., born enslaved in Greene County, who was the first president of the Atlanta NAACP and the second pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
In the face of centuries of terror and repression, Black people in Greene County have risked their lives to care for one another, tell the truth about the injustice they face, and fight for the flourishing of generations to come. We need the Greene County African American Museum now to uplift the heroes of the past and inspire their descendants to envision and build a future in which all are finally free.
Organizer and beneficiary
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