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This is an article from Essence Magazine called "Stolen Girls" by Donna Owens: "Arrested after a series of protest marches in the summer of 1963, almost three dozen girls from Americus, Georgia, were held for weeks in an abandoned Civil War-era
stockade. Never formally charged, the girls banded together in horrific
circumstances, even as their frantic families searched for them. Now their story
of courage, faith and resilience is finally being told."

This is an article from Essence Magazine called "Stolen Girls" by Donna Owens: "Arrested after a series of protest marches in the summer of 1963, almost three dozen girls from Americus, Georgia, were held for weeks in an abandoned Civil War-era
stockade. Never formally charged, the girls banded together in horrific
circumstances, even as their frantic families searched for them. Now their story
of courage, faith and resilience is finally being told."

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Stolen girls

  1. 1. special report HA..^
  2. 2. of protest marches in the summer of 1963, almost three zen girls from Americus, Georgia, were held for weeks in an abandoned Civil War- a stockade. Never formally charged, the girls banded together in horrific rcumstances, even as their frantic families searched for them. Now their story courage, faith and resilience is finally being told BY DONNA M.OWENS ! he Georgia sun was unrelenting that July day in 1963. It caiised sweat to trickle down the backs of young brown girls wearing pretty homemade cotton dresses, starched blouses and capri pants. Moisture formed at the napes of ebony boys- with neatly cropped hair, dampening their crisp, short-slee^ shirts. But for some 200 N^iro children and adults singir>g "We Shall Overcome" as they marched down Cotton Avenue iii the smalt southern town of Americus, Georgia, the heat was the least of their concerns. In this onetime cotton center founded in the 183O's, Blacks made up about half of the 13,000 resi- dents, but they were treated as second-class citizens under the same Jim Crow policies that ruled the South. Americus, with its mix of antebellum cottages, tin-roof shanties, pecan orchards and railroad tracks, had a name that suggested democracy, but racism was as fertile here as the rich, red Georgia soil. Colored and Whites Only signs prolifer- ated, and segregated lunch counters, schools, restrooms and. water fountains were a way of life. { "If you think of Mississippi first and Alabama second, then Georgia was third in terms of discrimination," says > j SNCC smu^led photographer DANNY LYON into the stockade grounds in 1963 to capture this haunting portrait of the jailed girls of Americus. to-of w»
  3. 3. special report fulian Bond, then a 23-year-oId leader of the Student Nonvio- "Blood was pouring down my face" lent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and now chairman of Near rhe edge oJ downiown, the demonstrators found them- the NAACP. "in those days Black people had no rights that selves facing a large While mob that included law-enforcement Whiles felt bound to obey. You expected every outrage, and the officers, known Ku Klux Klan members and self-deputized worst that could happen, would happen." citizens who had apparently heard about the protests from an Indeed, at high noon on thai hot ]uly day, the worst was be- informant. No one doubted thai the snarling police dogs, high- ginning to unfold in downtown Americus. "The plan was for half powered fire hoses, billy clubs and electric cattle prods carried of the demonslrators to head to the segregated Martin Theater, by some in the angry moh would be used. But the marchers while the rest were to veer right toward the White waiting r(X)m knew they would not fight back. They had taken an oath of non- of the Trailways bus station," recalls James A. Westbrooks, then a violence that included no hitting or cursing, not speaking or 19-year-old college .student and a field secretary for SNCC, which laughing, never blocking entrances to stores and aisles, and had joined with the NAACP to organize the demonstralion. being courteous al all time.s. So when the shc'iiff ordered I Bin 13 yaars old and was In I««9burg Btockadt fK» Aur'uat 31 to Septenber 8. Tliar* woro 3^ ltlds in Uiera irlLh ma. TViaro uero no beds, no m Ltrsssos, no blankata, pillows, no sfiaata. The fl,)or w»s cold. lou lay dam for whilo and soon It s',.:rts hu^-tlia you so yoj alt ui for ttrfill* ind It stirta hurtlns 90 you hava to USUL arouni:! for a Nhll«. Tha hsnbur^wa w«ra dry and wera not eookad wall bacauaa whan you break your [Mat opm you can aaa a lot of red aeat lnsida, Dia S M U of th« wMta matarial ms bad. I want to Uie bsthroai t^a^a to urlnaU, but didn't have a bowel movanent Utriiig tha <ntir« nine days 1 was t^are, I urlAated Mhare tAs water fron t ^ QI-MOT dralna down. Sone of tha glrla us^d • placa of cardboard that can* fron U« box«a, tha cardboard boicas, that tha hamburgon ware brought ir.. Hia water vaa hot and i t was rumiflg a l l tha Mhlla, '<^J nan s*** ua Ihraa cupa for tho 32 of us. TYitn »ts a a^an^ but I t wasn't claan Mough for you to batfie In. Jardboard with wast« nutarlal had been put Ui»r* and i t naadad cl«a.iii^ and acrubbing. At night tha nosquitwas Bid ro^chas ware at UB. In tha middla of th« uaak Above: The girls were forced to sleep on the concrete floor. Right: tha whit* Min gavfl ua saw blankets. They war* tha onea wlich had bMD bumed. After their release, some of them wrote statements to document Re put t)-aN out in ttja aua Htd than gav* HIM back to ua. Two v UirM of im what they'd been through. altpt tn ona bl^nkat. bafor* • • Uila Uth daj of Sapiwbar, 1963, Loli Bamnw HoUey ^^^ •'aarletta FULlar In Americus, as in other parts of the South, young people, fired up by meetings at local Black churches, had Votary PubUc, Oa. SUta at large Kanrlatu Puller My camlaoicci w n i n a 8 ^ become faithful foot soldiers of the movement. They had already taken part in sit-ins, protests and picketing at the segregated public library and the local courthouse, and voier registration drives were plentiful. "We were marching at them to disperse, the demonstrators dropped to their knees least once a week and every weekend." remembers Emmarene and began to pray. Kaigler Streeler. who turned 14 that year. "A lol of us were snealc- "I didn't have sense enough to be afraid." says Piane Dorsey ing out of the house and doing it againsi our parents' wishes." Bowens, who had just turned 13 and was marching for the first But just as the dream of dignity and equality emboldened some time. More than anything, she wanted to see places like the Blacks, their challenge to the status quo angered and threatened local Watgreens desegregated. "You'd go in for a prescription, many Whites in Americus. including some of those charged with and there was a soda fountain but you weren't allowed to protecting them. Police Chief Ross Chambliss and the tobacco- drink." recalls Bowens. "Whites there would laugh and make chewing sheriff. Fred Chappell. were as infamous in these parts fun of you and call you 'nigger/ When the movement came. 1 us Bull Connor was in Birmingham. Alabama. Chappell, who some couldn't wail to be part of it." local folk described as heavy-jowled and prone to calling Blacks But as resolved as she and the other protestors were io "nigger," had even left an impression on Dr. Martin Luther King. remain nonviolent, nothing could have prepared Ihem for the Jr., back in 1961. After his arrest in nearby Albany, Dr. King had mayhem thai ensued. As the crowd swarmed Ihe marchers, I.ul.u been transferred and briefly held in the Sumter County jail in Westbrooks Griffin, then 13. felt herself being swept from the side- Americus. Afterward he is reported to have said that Fred walk into the street bya stinging blast of water, her shoes knocked Clhappell was "the meanest man in the world." This was the man off her feel. As she struggled to get up, a policeman attacked her waiting to meet the marchers in Americus in 1963. with his club. "He was on me, beating me over the head." lul.u
  4. 4. Above: LuLu Westbrooks Griffin stands at the door of the stockade 43 years later. Right: Gloria Breedlove and Carol Barner Seay inside the stockade, which is now a public works facility. would recall 43 years later. "Blood was pouring down my face." Her older brother James, the SNCC worker who had helped recruit and train the young marchers, watched in be taken out one by one and killed," recalls Barbara Jean Daniels. horror hut was in no position to help. Pinned to the ground by She was 14 years old. police, one boot on his neck, another on his back, he could do nothing as his little sister LuLu, his 13-year-oId niece, Gloria "He swung the shovel at me" Breedlove, and dozens of other children were arrested and The Leesburg Stockade, a low-slung white structure wiih steel thrown into police wagons. doors, looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in decades. The barred Eunice Lee Butts, now 95. remembers that her son James windows all had jagged, broken glass and no screens, the floors came running home that afternoon, screaming that his 12-year- were filthy, and a single bare lightbulb hung from the ceiling. old sister "Bang" was in jail. Bang was the nickname of Bobbie In this narrow cell, roughly 12 feet by 40 feel, more than 30 girls Jean Butts Wise, one of Mrs. Butts's nine children, "I was scared were squeezed into a space intended to accommodate far fewer. and sick with worry," she says, her voice clouding at the A squat, graying older man called Pops was assigned to guard memory, "But I didn'l even know where they had taken them. the girls; he was armed with a sholgun. Other White men passed There was nothing 1 could do." through on no particular schedule—whether they were For weeks afterward, the marchers were shuffled from jail law-enforcement officials or not, the girls never knew. The only to jail in neighboring counties across the region, all overflow- other person Ihey saw regularly was the local dogcatcher, ing with demonstrators from the numerous civil rights protests Mr. Story, a tall, thin man with a nervous manner. He delivered that took place that summer. Boys and girls were sometimes meals. "The first two days we didn't get any food." recalls Shirley kept apart by chicken wi re in improvised holding pens, and older Ann Green Reese, who was 14. "Around the third day they started teens were separated from yoxinger ones. Eventually about three bringing us hamburgers that were almost raw." dozen adolescent girls from various facilities were transported Several of the girls began throwing up or suffering from some 20 miles from Americus to the Leesburg Stockade, a Civil diarrhea. The only toilet was a broken commode in Ihe corner War era prison in Lee County. The youngest girl was about 10, that couldn't be flushed. It was soon clogged to the top, With the oldest about 16. For nearly seven weeks, many would be held no other options to relieve themselves, the j^irls took to squat- in that bleak place with little family contact and no sense of ting over the shower drain, which quickly developed a when or whether they'd ever be let go. "They told us that we'd suffocating stench. To wipe themselves they used the paper > ESSENCE 165 6.2006
  5. 5. special report cartons from the burger deliveries. When their menstrual someone was down or crying, we would all gather 'round and cycles came, they tore strips off their dresses and fashioned hold her." Everyone had lost weight, and LuLu desperately needed them into napkins. Bathing wasn't an option. There was a medical treatment for her festering head wound. The other girls showerhead, but its slow perpetual drip proved useless, though suffered from a range of ills: ear infections, boils and high fevers. the girls could get a sip of warm water by standing under it Some had lice in their hair, and one girl. 15-year-old Verna Hollis. with cupped hands. One of the guards later gave them a few learned she was pregnant while inside the stockade. "Everyone tin cups to share. else was getting their period, and mine never came," she says Rickety bunks with thin, soiled mattresses stood in a cor- softly. "I was throwing up all the time. I was just miserable." ner of the cell, but nobody dared sleep on them. Instead, the girls huddled on the concrete floor with no pillows and some Six of the women who were imprisoned together in the summer of 1963 stained army blankets full of cigarette burns. They didn't sleep stroll toward the grounds of the Leesburg Stockade last January. much. Their backs ached; the mosquitoes, ticks and roaches were merciless; and the heat was stifling. As the days and then weeks crawled by, the girls would take turns at the window, hoping for an occasional whiff of fresh air. "Once 1 was looking out through the hars, and I asked Pops something. When he didn't respond, I called him a bastard." recalls Willie Mae Smith Davis, whom everyone called Mae Mae. She was 15 years old. "He swung a shovel at me. and it narrowly missed my hands," Some guards poked the girls with sticks and called them "pick-a-ninnies." "jungle bunnies" and "nigger." They told them Dr. King had gone tci iail. "Who's going to be your,savior now?" "One day a guard tossed a snake into the cell, sending the girls screaming into a corner. The reptile The girls took turns at the window to escape the heat and stench In the cell. remained there all night." they taunted. One day one of the guards tossed a huge snake into the cell, sending the girls screaming into a corner. The "We weren't afraid of death" reptile remained there all night, hissing noisily. The next Several weeks into their captivity, the girls plotted an escape. morning it was captured after the girls begged one of the other Biilie Jo Thornton Allen, 14 at the time, recalls that the plan was men to remove it, for them to call out to Pops so he'd open the door, then they'd Laura Ruff, who was 15, recalls the nlghl that two truckloads push past him and make a run for it. Chased by blasts from the of While boys came riding up. "We knew they'd been drink- old man's rifle, they made it across an open field to the trees. ing because we could see the bottles in their hands," she says. But after stumbling through the heavily wooded area for some "They started yelling to Pops. 'Let us in there. We wanna have time, they began to realize they'd never be able to find Iheir way a little fun!'" Pops cocked his rifle and told them to get the home. Dejected, they returned to the stocltade. hell out of there, but Sanders, now 58, still shudders at the There were other rebellions. The pile of mattresses in the thought of what might have happened had they somehow corner, which the girls had been forced to use as an impromptu managed to get inside the stockade, lavatory, developed a horrible smell, recalls Roberliena Free- During those long, slow weeks of captivity, the girls did what man Fletcher, who was 14. One day, in protest, the girts set the they could to keep going, "We prayed all the time, and we sang pile on fire with some matches they found on the floor. freedom songs." says Annie Lue Ragans Laster. one of several girls Back in Americus. frantic family members and SNCC work- who had been sent to the stockade from later protests, "When ers were making the rounds of jails trying to discover the > ESSENCE 186 6.2006
  6. 6. "Some families were charged a fee of $2 for each day their daughters spent in prison." says Bond. "We then mailed them to Black newspa- pers all over the country." One image appeared in a September 1963 issue of Jet magazine, along with an article, "CA Marchers Kept in Filthy, Slench- Some of the women gathered last January on a bridge in Americus, Georgia. From left: Filled Jail." Bond and others say that Lyon's pholos Annie Lou Ragans Laster, Carol Barner Seay. Gloria Breedlove, Emmarene Kaigler Streeter. LuLu Westbrooks Griffin, Sandra Russell Mansfield, Diane Dorsey Bowens. also came to the attention of a U.S. senator, Harri- son A. Williams. Jr., who later entered them into the whereabouts of the children. Word finally filtered to some of Congressional Record. In her self-published book, Freedom Is the girls' families that they were being held in the Leesburg Not Free (Heirloom Publishing). LuLu Westbrooks Griffin spec- Stockade. The few parents who had transportation drove out ulates that the pictures were eventually passed on to Attorney with food and provisions, holding fast to the hope of taking General Bobby Kennedy. While no one has been able to verify their daughters home. A handful did succeed in securing their a paper trail, it seems clear that after the [CONTINUED ON P G 218] AE daughters' release, but they were mostly the town's more in- fluential Negro citizens, including the principal of the Black junior high school and the local funeral director. Most other parents weren't even allowed to see their girls. DELAYED JUSTICE in recent years some After more than a month, help finally arrived in the form cases involving civil rights-era crimes have of a 21 -year-old SNCC photographer named Danny Lyon, a Jew- ish New Yorker living in Atlanta. The organization had senl been reopened by the Justice Department him lo take photos of the girls as evidence of the fact that the' THE CASE: The 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in were being held illegally. Smuggled to the stockade grounds Birmingham, Alabama, killed four Black girls; Addie Mae Collins, 14; by a Black teen driving Lyon's Volkswagen, the photographer Cynthia Wesley, 14; Carole Robertson, 14; and Denise McNair, 1 1 . lay on the floor behind the front seat. While the young driver THE RESULT: One defendant was convicted in 1977. In 1997 the FBI distracted Pops, Lyon crawled out of the car and around to the reopened the case, prompted by pressure from the community. An in- back, where he saw the girls through tbe windows. vestigation led to a second conviction in 2 0 0 1 and a third in 2002. A "They clustered around the window, holding hands through fourth alleged participant died in 1994, and therefore was never tried. Ihe broken glass and bars and saying 'freedom,'" remembers THE CASE: Ben Chester White, 6 7 , a Black sharecropper, was driven Lyon, who later recounted the experience in his book Memo- into a national forest and murdered in 1966 by Ernest Avants, who ries of the Southern Civil Rights Movement (University of North was reported to be a Mississippi Ku Klux Klan member. Carolina Press). "They were beautiful." Lyon knew he didn't THE RESULT: White was murdered on federal land, so the five-year have much time, so he explained to the girls the sort of pic- statute of limitations didn't apply. In 2 0 0 3 , at the instigation of civil tures he needed to make. They understood at once, "They all rights groups, Avants, 7 2 , was convicted in Jackson, Mississippi. went and lay down and pretended they were asleep," says Lyon. THE CASE: Emmett Till, 14, was abducted in August 1955 after al- His hands trembled and his heart pounded as he snapped legedly whistling at a White woman in Money, Mississippi. His mu- photo after photo of the giris in the squalid cell. He documented tilated body was found in the Tallahatchie River several days later. the overrun toilet, the rusty showerhead, the girls in torn cloth- THE RESULT: In 1 9 5 5 two White men were acquitted by an all- ing on the filthy floor. Then, while the teen who'd smuggled White jury. In 2 0 0 4 the FBI reopened the case, in part because of him in continued to engage Pops. Lyon hurried back to the car. new information uncovered by documentary filmmakers. This year shaken by his close-up view of southern "justice." the case was turned over to the state's attomey in Mississippi. At When he returned to SNCC's Atlanta headquarters with the press time no c h a f e s had been filed. —D.M.O. pictures, workers rushed to publicize the girls' plight. "The pictures first appeared in our newspaper, The Student Voice,"
  7. 7. STOLEN GIRLS CONTINUro FROM PAGF i b6 pictures arrived in Washington, D.C, someone important, premiered in Americus at the Rytander Theatre in July 2003, perhaps President John F. Kennedy himself, orchestrated the the fortieth anniversary of the girls' imprisonment. Filmmak- girls' release. ers Richard J, McCollough and Travis W. Lewis of Mirus Vide<i All the girls know for sure is that in the first week of Septem- Productions in Rochester, New York, spent hours and their own ber 1963, just after school opened, they were herded into a police money documenting the incident. "It's one of those untold civil wagon and transported back lo Americus. They'd had some inkling rights stories that everyone needs to know about," says McCol- I hat they were soon to be released: Fops had muttered it to them, lough, 49, a broadcast journalist who first met LuLu in 1999, and the dogcatcher, Mr. Story, hrought scraps of news from the after reading about her in their local newspaper. Completed girls' families as he delivered meats. On arriving back in Ameri- in 2003, the documentary has won several awards, including cus. several of the girls were brought before officials at the local the prestigious Telly, which honors the best in cable, news and courthouse. There they learned that some families had been video, in 2004, Yet the filmmakers believe that not enough charged $2 per day as a "boarding fee" for the time their children people have seen the fibn, "The story of what happened to these spent in prison. But the parents, overjoyed to see their daughters women deserves national exposure," says Lewis. alive, focused only on getting them home safely. Carol Barner Seay, who was 13. remembers tbat she and her mother were told to appear before a magistrate who asked if she would promise to stay away from the protests and other "mess" in the future. Carol retorted angrily. "Mess, what mess?!" as her mother tried in vain to shush her. "We always knew that marching could mean jail or death," Seay, a minister, says now. "But I was not afraid, and neither were the others. We were will- ing to do what we had to do to gain our freedom." "It's like I'm drawn back here" On a crisp, clear day in January 2006, a caravan of cars zooms past wide-open cotton fields, magnolia trees, marshland and peanut stands in scenic southwest Georgia. Forty-three years after their imprisonment, some of the women are returning to visit the place where their innocence was stolen. Many of the Americus girls have moved away from their hometown and are scattered all over the country. Some have become educators, business owners, nurses, real estate agents, urban planners, scientists and ministers; others have worked at factories and fast-food places, and some are retired. Most are married with adult children, some have grandchildren, and sev- eral have passed away. Though their lives have followed many different trajectories, they all say they were forever marked by what they endured in the summer of 1963. The Leesburg Stockade along Highway 32 has been slightly altered over the years, and its name, etched into a wall of the structure, has been obscured by a public-works sign, "A lot of LuLu (above, at 13) wore a flour sack after her dress was torn in the march. sad memories in this place." says Sandra Russell Mansfield, a small, fragile-seeming woman who still lives in Americus, and Shari K. Thompson. 34. an adjunct professor in film and me- who begins weeping almost from the moment she steps out of dia arts at Temple University, couldn't agree more. She is work- her car. "1 drive down sometimes. It's like I'm drawn back here. ing on her own documentary about the women. She became Every time I come, I leave a piece of myself," aware of them in the late nineties after Philadelphia attorney For some of the women, like Robertiena Freeman Fletcher. Calvin Taylor. Jr., who had met Gloria Breedlove, approached this is the first trip back. Others, like LuLu Westbrooks Griffin, Thompson to tell the story on film, Taylor thought the docu- now 57 and a resident of Springwater, New York, and Gloria mentary would help him build a legal case on behalf of the Breedlove. 57, of Philadelphia, have made regular pilgrimages women. Intrigued, Thompson traveled to Americus to see the to both Americus and Leesburg over the last decade, taking pic- stockade and meet the women, "This story has a spiritual con- tures and videotaping the site to preserve the history. nection for me," she reflects. "I haven't been able to let it go." A documentary. LuLu and the Girls ofAmericus, Georgia 1963, Indeed, this too-little-known incident of the civil rights era ESSENCE 218 6.2006
  8. 8. haunts all who learn of it. Taylor, a specialist in litigation, says sissippi home; and that four little Black girls were killed in a he cried the first time he discovered what had happened to Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing. the girls in that sweltering summer of 1963. "I think they de- But 1963 also had its triumphs. August 28 of that year, while serve some type of reparation for this tragedy." says the attor- the girls shored up their courage by singing civil rights anthems ney, who now represents Gloria and several of the other women inside the stockade. Martin Luther King, Jr.. gave his indelible hut has not yet filed a lawsuit. "These women suffered enor- "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington. D.C. Few among the mously, and most Americans don't even know it happened." 250,000 gathered to hear him knew that hundreds of miles away in Georgia, another group of marchers was also serving the same "We took a Stand for justice" cause. "We took a stand for justice and dignity, and I'm proud Roaming the grounds of the stockade on a crisp blue morning of what we accomplished, knocking down those ugly walls of last January, alternately crying and holding one another, the segregation," LuLu says, women reflect on the fact that, all these years later, many of As the daylight slants lower over the stockade, the women, them still have recurring nightmares. A few have sought coun- bound by shared experience, spontaneously come together in seling, but others have spent their entire adult lives burying a circle and bow their heads to pray. Afterward, as they break the incident, refusing to talk about their time in the stockade, apart, each one lost in her own separate memory, you know that even with their spouses and children. in the pantheon of fighters who struggled and sacrificed for free- Nor has their hometown come to terms with its cruel re- dom's cause, the girls of Americus, Georgia, deserve their right- sponse during that summer of protests. While the population ful place in history, too. D of Americus has grown to 17.000 (39 percent White and 58 per- Donna M. Owens, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist, cent Black), and the town now houses internationally known lives in Baltimore. organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Americus has never officially addressed the stockade incident or other shameful episodes in its history. Many of the authorities involved, in- cluding sheriff Fred Chappell and police chief Ross Chambliss, THE GIRLS IN THE STOCKADE have died, and court records thai might document the girls' im- I n the summer of 1963. at least 33 girls from different protest prisonment have proven impossible to locate. marches were held at the Leesburg Stockade. Most of The women feel that an apology, and some form of legal re- them had participated in the violent Americus march that dress, is appropriate given what they suffered. Officials at the was intended to desegregate the local movie theater and U.S. Department of Justice, the federal agency charged with pur- bus station. The following are among those who were re- suing civil rights violations, told Taylor that the five-year statute portedly detained. They are listed by their childhood names of limitations has passed, but legal precedent exists for other avenues of pursuit. "If there is a strong community outcry about 1. Carol Bamer 18. Mary Frances Jackson what happened." says attorney Jacqueline A. Berrien of the 2. Lorena Bamum 19. Vyrtis Jackson NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, "then legal re- 3. Pearl Brown (Deceased) 20. Dorothy Jones course can still occur." (See "Delayed justice" sidebar.] 4. Bobbie Jean Butts 21 Emma Jean Jones To raise awareness, several of the women have spoken pub- 5. Agnes Carter (Deceased) 22. Emmarene Kaigler licly about their experiences, and all would like to see a memo- 6. Pattie Jean Collier 23. Barbara Ann Peterson rial or museum erected at Leesburg to educate young people. 7. Mattie Crittenden 24. Annie Lue Ragans Georgia congressman Sanford Bishop, who represents the Sec- (Deceased) 25. Judith Reid ond Congressional District, which includes Americus and Lees- 8. Barbara Jean Daniels 26. Laura Ruff burg. has said that a memorial "is in the realm of possibility." 9. Gloria Dean 27. Sandra Russell He has already pushed through legislation to name the new U.S. 10. Carolyn DeLoatch 28. Willie Mae Smitti courthouse in nearby Albany for civil rights attorney C.B. King. 11. Diane Dorsey 29. BillieJoThomton With support from the Georgia legislature, he says, the women 12. Juanita Freeman 30. Gloria Breedtove might be honored with their own memorial as well. "It's a very 13. Robertiena Freeman Westbrooks gripping story." he says, "one that needs to be preserved." 14. Henrietta Fuller 31. LuLu Westbrooks Would any of the women choose to rewrite their fateful his- 15. Shirley Ann Green 32. OzellarWhitehead tory? Not one said she would. "The minute I became a freedom 16. VemaHollis (Deceased) rider." reflects Gloria. "I was choosing to abandon my jump rope 17. EvetteHose 33 Ganie Mae Williams and be a soldier for freedom. That motivation superseded fear." Even so, the women are aware that many fellow soldiers Teresa Mansfield of Americus assisted in compiling this list. never lived to tell their story; that in the same year they were in jail, Medgar Evers was fatally shot in the back outside his Mis-
  9. 9. Copyright © Entertainment Weekly Inc., 2006. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be duplicated or redisseminated without permission.

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