Spiver Gordon, President of the Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement, announced that there will be a two-day program, this coming Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28, 2019, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the special election on July 29, 1969, which elected Black officials to the Greene County Commission and School Board.
“This is a two day celebration of 50 years of voting rights, democracy, justice and unity for all people in Greene County, Alabama. We invite everyone, Black and White, Hispanics, Asians and Native peoples from Greene County and around the state and nation to attend. This is a celebration of what is good and positive in Greene County.
This is a celebration of the continuing success and benefits of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to people at the grassroots level in counties and communities across the South and the nation,” said Gordon.
Among the guests and dignitaries coming from far and wide this weekend is Rosie Carpenter. Mrs. Carpenter, who is now in her nineties, lives in Maryland with her daughter Joyce Dasher, who will be accompanying her to the celebration.
Mrs. Carpenter was a courageous teacher in Greene County who stood up and helped to develop the strategies and organize the precincts to elect the first Black officials. As part of the celebration, a monument will be dedicated at the home she shared with her sister, Annie Thomas, where many of the planning and strategy meetings were held that powered the civil rights movement from the 1960’s into the 1990’s.
On Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 9:00 AM to Noon, three historic monuments will be unveiled and dedicated in Eutaw:
• the first monument will be at Carver School, now the Robert H. Young Community Center, to honor students who boycotted schools in 1965 and started the civil rights and voting rights struggles and movement in Greene County.
• the second monument will be in front of the home of Annie Thomas and Rosie Carpenter, on Highway 14, where strategy sessions were held for the civil rights movement from the 1960’s into the 1990’s.
• the third monument will be placed at the Robert Brown Middle School, formerly Greene County High School to honor Black students who integrated the public schools of Greene County in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.
“We hope these monuments will stand for a long time and be a beacon of light for our children and our children’s children, as they travel to and through Greene County. These monuments show the ‘peoples history of our county’ and many names of those living and deceased are on these markers,” said Lester Cotton, 2nd Vice President of the Movement Museum.
On Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 6:00 PM, at the Eutaw Activity Center, there will be a banquet honoring the foot soldiers that participated in the civil rights and voting rights movement of the 1960’s in Greene County. Among the living leaders who participated in the struggle, who have agreed to attend are: Rosie Carpenter (who now lives in Bowie, Maryland), Bill Edwards (Portland, OR), Atty. Sheryl Cashin (daughter of John Cashin from Washington, D. C.) Fred Taylor, Tyrone Brooks, and Dexter Wimbush (Georgia), Wendell H. Paris (Jackson, MS), Judge John England, Hank Sanders, Sen. Bobby Singleton and many other dignitaries.
On Sunday July 28, 2019, at 4:00 PM there will be a Freedom Rally, honoring the fallen Black political leaders of Greene County, at the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw. The rally will be followed by a fish-fry and watermelon eating fellowship meeting on the grounds of the old Courthouse in Eutaw.
“We invite the public including all community and business leaders – Black and White – to attend. This is an opportunity to honor grassroots community leaders who had the courage to believe they could change and make this community a better place to live, work and worship. We have made a half century of progress but with full participation and unity the next fifty years will be easier and more productive for all,” said Gordon.
For more information and to support the Freedom Day 50th anniversary celebration, contact: Spiver Gordon, Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement, Inc., P. O. Box 385, Eutaw, Alabama 35462; phone 205-372-3446; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.