Monday, November 23, 2009

THE CABIN KIDS



Ruth, Helen, James, Winifred, and Fred, collectively known as "The Cabin Kids" appeared on the stage of the Ritz Theater in Dublin on December 5, 1939.  These five children of Beatrice Hall appeared more than twenty movies and  short films in the brief career with Hollywood's biggest stars including  Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Roy Rogers, Buster Keaton, Shirley Temple and Danny Kaye. 

They were known and loved for the singing and comedy skits.

Friday, November 20, 2009

JEROME BULLOCK

The Acts of a Patriot



When President Jimmy Carter appointed 29-year- old Jerome Bullock of Dublin, Georgia as the Marshal of the District of Columbia in 1977, some may have considered him too inexperienced to insure the security of the Federal and Superior Courts of the nation's capital. Armed with the enduring educational influences of his maternal progenitors, an innate desire to serve in the armed forces of his country and a resolute determination to enforce laws protecting the fundamental human rights of all Americans, Bullock was well suited for the task. Though no longer in public service, Bullock utilizes his decades of experience in the field of security in advising his clients on ways of protecting the personal, property and monetary rights of Americans and American corporations from the devious activities of terrorists and criminals who are constantly attempting to undermine the lifeblood of our nation's economy.

Jerome Bullock's road to success began early in life. His mother Vivian Bullock, his grandmother Raiford Gamble Baker and his great-grandmother Leila Gamble encouraged Jerry to strive to reach high standards of achievement. Reading was a number one priority. Jerome's mother bought him a set of World Book encyclopedias. The summary of world's knowledge, which still remains in his mother's home today, encouraged the young man to seek all the knowledge he could.

Jerry started school at Millville at the urging of his mother. He rode with Principal U.I. Toler and his family and his grandmother Baker, who was a teacher at the school. In the 2nd grade, he returned to Dublin to attend Washington Street School. The following year, Jerry had "to dodge" his mother's 3rd class in favor of another teacher. In his "junior high" years, Jerry attended Susie Dasher School. From 1961 to 1965, Jerry attended Oconee High School, where he was active in the publication of the school newspaper and yearbook, in addition to a host of extracurricular activities.

Bullock's male mentors included Lucius Bacote, a former principal of Oconee High School in Dublin and Col. Holman Edmond and Bullock's father, Jerry Bullock. From an early age, Jerome Bullock idolized Col. Edmond, a decorated helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. Edmond, who was mentored by Bullock's grandmother Leila Gamble Raiford Baker attended Tuskegee University after he ended his first term as an enlisted man. Col. Edmond became somewhat of a mythical figure in Jerome's life. Rarely did he see his hero, settling instead for exciting stories of Edmond's military service. Jerome aspired to fly, just like Col. Edmond. He worked hard to obtain his pilot's license. Not wanting to settle for just a license to fly private planes, Bullock obtained a commercial private license, an instrument flight instructor certificate, and ratings in advanced ground and instrument ground techniques. In more than three decades of flying Jerry Bullock has flown over more than two thirds of North America. Occasionally, he still flies home to Dublin. "I enjoy flying because of the tremendous mental challenge required to do it well."

After his graduation from Oconee High, Jerry turned down several offers to attend other colleges in favor of Tuskegee University, where his father, a World War II veteran, had studied after the War under the GI Bill. While at Tuskegee, Bullock participated in the ROTC program. During his last two years at Tuskegee, he was awarded an ROTC scholarship. In his senior year (1968-69), Jerry served as Cadet Commandant of the ROTC Leadership Academy.

Perhaps the first time Jerry Bullock envisioned himself as a member of the Armed Forces came during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. " I was in the 9th grade and remember listening to President John F. Kennedy's speech on the radio," Bullock remembered. Even at a young age, Jerry realized the potential seriousness of the situation. He read as many newspaper accounts of the crisis as he could. "The event made me want to go into the military as soon as possible to serve my country, but because of my age, I would have to wait another seven years to join since you had to be 21 years old to accept a commission as an officer and also be a college graduate," he recalled. The turbulent social events of the 1960s intrigued the young man, who thirsted for knowledge of what was happening around him and the world.

"I enjoyed reading the Courier Herald every day and watching news broadcasts on television and trying to understand various world issues," as he recalled what lead to a life long love of current affairs of the business, political, and public service worlds. Jerry still loves reading an unlimited source of newspapers through the magic of the Internet and discussing them with his mother. Little did Jerry realize that his thirst for news of world events would aide him in his present job of providing corporate security and investigative services.

After his graduation from Tuskegee University, Jerry Bullock was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. From the start of his military career, he planned on making military service a career with the ultimate goal of becoming a general. During his three and one half years in the army, Jerry served at Fort Benning, Georgia, on the Demilitarized Zone on the North Korea-South Korea border and at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. While stationed at Fort Campbell, Captain Bullock was granted permission to resign his commission to attend law school at Howard University in 1972. After graduation from law school, Capt. Bullock returned to reserve military service as a member of the 352nd Civilian Affairs Command. His unit was responsible for designing procedures for operating a civilian government after successful missions in foreign countries. It was somewhat ironic that the unit, composed of lawyers, judges, police personnel, and public officials, wasn't called to duty until the Iraq war, nearly thirty years later.

For most of his life, Jerry Bullock has sought to make the world a better place to live. With a firm understanding that laws are essential to the process, he realized that as a lawyer he would have the training to make long-lasting positive changes in the way we live. Having seen many of the atrocities committed against his race in his youth, Bullock made it a priority to work through the legal system to protect the basic human rights of the right to vote and the right to be free from fear of harm by those who hated people merely because of the color of their skin.

Perhaps the biggest impact of racial hatred in Jerry's life came in 1964, when Lt. Colonel Lemuel Penn was murdered near Athens, Georgia by a shotgun blast while traveling home from Fort Benning after a reserve training assignment. Colonel Penn's senseless death deeply disturbed Jerry, not only because he aspired to serve in the army just as the colonel, but the fact that during Penn's civilian life, the colonel was a director of vocational education and public school teacher. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he feared that the same abomination could be committed against his mother and grandmother, both of whom were teachers. In reflecting on the tragic murder of his idol Bullock said, "After this incident, I became even more determined to serve my country honorably as a soldier and a good citizen and be fair to each person that I encountered and work for equality wherever I served. When opportunities arose in my career that allowed me to serve my country, I did so to the best of my ability. I guess it was my own personal way of not letting Col. Penn down as well as countless others who had faced injustices in their military service."

Jerry Bullock's military service allowed him to attend law school under the GI Bill. To help meet his personal needs, he began working in a part time job with the U.S. Marshals Service during his second year of school. Realizing Bullock's ability in the law and his outstanding record of military service, Director Wayne Colburn and Deputy Director William Hall asked Jerry to conduct an internal investigation into a four-day hostage event which occurred in the agency's office in July 1974. Bullock zealously interviewed more than two hundred witnesses and issued his findings of fact in a report, which suggested ways of improving security in the office. Impressed with the thoroughness of his work, Colburn and Hall invited Bullock to become a full time member of the agency. Turning down an offer to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jerry decided to accept the offer to join the marshal's office, a decision he never regretted and one which led to rewarding professional and personal experiences later in his career.

In 1977, an opening in the position of Marshal of the District of Columbia came open. Attorney General Griffin Bell consulted with Director Hall for a replacement. Bullock was shocked when Hall told him that he had recommended him for the job. During an interview with the Attorney General, the two fellow Georgians talked of growing up in Dublin, and his life in the army and the law.

Attorney General Bell, also a lawyer and former Infantry officer, knew that Bullock was the right man to serve as U.S. Marshal. Final approval of Bullock's nomination came from another Georgian Jimmy Carter, who discarded any notions of his inexperience. With the resolute support of two powerful Georgia senators, Herman Talmadge and Sam Nunn, Bullock was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn into office on August 1, 1977.

The United States Marshal in each Federal Judicial District is responsible for security of the Federal court system, its judges, prosecutors, and witnesses as well as the execution of all Federal court orders. Additionally, marshals are charged with the duty of protecting Federal prisoners and apprehending Federal fugitives. Just five years after the creation of the Marshals Agency in1789, Marshal Robert Forsyth of the District of Georgia was the first marshal killed in the line of duty while serving civil papers. One of the most famous marshals was Frederick Douglass, the country's leading black advocate of abolition. Douglass, the nation's first black U.S. Marshal, appointed in 1877 by President Rutherford B. Hayes was honored by the Marshal's Service in 1979. During his dedicatory address Director Hall singled out Marshal Bullock for his distinguished service following in the legacy of Marshal Douglass.

Perhaps Marshal Jerry Bullock's most memorable assignment came in 1978 when he was responsible for the security of James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when Ray testified before a House committee on assassinations. Bullock personally led the transportation of Ray from Brushy Mountain Prison in Tennessee to Washington. After weeks of extensive planning, Marshal Bullock and his team staged a surprise helicopter landing on the prison baseball field, where they picked up Ray, who had been secreted out of his cell.

Bullock approached Ray and informed him that he was now in the custody of custody of the U.S. Marshal. "I stepped forward, informed Ray who I was and told him that he was at that moment being transferred to Federal custody. I put my handcuffs on Ray before the Warden removed his handcuffs and we quickly secured his handcuffs through a waist chain for additional security," Bullock recalled. "I could tell that Ray was stunned to see that a black law enforcement officer was in charge of his custody and safety. I think that I too was struck by the turn of events at that moment. Executed with precision, the entire exchange lasted only a few moments," Bullock remembered. During Ray's trip to the capital, Ray was escorted by a team of escort personnel, including a physician should an incident occur. With an elevated level of threats against both Ray and his escorts, each member of the marshal's service wore bullet proof vests. Ray refused Bullock's offer of a vest for a protection. In a moment of ultimate irony, picture a black Federal marshal carrying a live saving vest at all times in the event that he needed to protect the man who had slain the leader of the Civil Rights movement and had destroyed the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans. Another remarkable event in Bullock's career came in the early 1980s, when Bullock was responsible for the security of John Hinckley, who was convicted of attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan.

After sixteen years in the U.S. Marshals Service, Jerry Bullock joined the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. In a short time, he was promoted to the position of Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, a position he held until his retirement from public service in1994. During his service in the Justice Department, Bullock led a team of special agents who investigated fraud and corruption within the Justice Department. Bullock saw a need for his expertise in the private business world. His travels have led him to all nearly every continent in the world, including an assignment with the prestigious international consulting firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers.

After five years, Bullock realized that his investigative experience in the governmental and private sectors would be of aid to companies and governmental agencies. He established Bullock & Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C. firm. Through hard work on the part of Bullock and his staff, the firm has gained a favorable reputation throughout the country. Since the passage of the Patriot Act, Bullock and his firm have provided valuable investigative services to financial institutions to seek fight money laundering operations. Investigating both large and small organizations, Bullock is surprised at the extent of terrorist activities that are
occurring on a daily basis. As a result of his investigations into banking transactions, Bullock has uncovered heretofore unknown criminal activities.

Jerry Bullock is proud to have served his country in both military and civilian capacities. "My service in both the military and the Federal government allowed me to serve in positions of a trust that required the highest security clearances in our government," Bullock said. Bullock takes a great reward in his work when his country trusts him in something that is very important to him on a personal level.

All of the time, Jerry Bullock believes, if only in a small way, that he is representing the people of Dublin and Laurens County. Just think. All of these acts of an American patriot originated right here in Dublin, where three remarkable women and a host of male role models instilled in a young man, the ideals of hard work,
education, public service and patriotism.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

FROM SANDERSVILLE TO COOPERSTOWN

The Original Big Mac

It seems strange that nearly fifty years have passed since a young man from Mobile, Alabama first took his position at first base for the Sandersville Giants. As a young boy, all Willie Lee ever wanted to do was to play baseball. Growing up in the shadows of the legendary Hank Aaron, the young man idolized the ability, desire and undaunting courage of Jackie Robinson as he broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. When he signed a professional contract, he told a reporter that he would have paid the team to let him play baseball. He loved the game that much. Over his twenty five-year career in baseball, the tall lanky and powerful young man, affectionately known as “Stretch” for his ability to snare and scoop incoming infield throws, became the most prolific left handed home run hitter in the history of the National League, that is until his record was eclipsed by a fellow Giant Barry Bonds.

McCovey was a man of natural power, found not in a bottle, but in the desire of his heart. This is the story of Willie Lee McCovey, who began his professional baseball career as a member of the Sandersville Giants in 1955.

Willie Lee McCovey was born on January 10, 1938. While most kids his age were about to complete the requirements for graduation from high school, Willie packed his careworn bat and glove and headed to Melbourne, Florida for a try out with New York Giants. Giants scouts couldn’t help but notice his slender 6 foot four inch powerful physique and his ability to catch anything thrown at him. In addition to signing future Giant greats Felipe Alou and Orlando Cepeda, the Giants signed Willie to a minor league contract and assigned him to the organization’s Class D farm team Sandersville of the Georgia State League. His contract provided that he would be paid $175.00 a month or about six dollars a game. Willie started his career at the bottom of the Giant’s farm system. Though he grew up in the South and experienced the atrocities of racial segregation in the 1950s, Willie was the first black player ever to play for Sandersville, which was in its eighth year in the league. He was joined by two other black players Robert L. Reed and Robert Scott, a former Negro league player.

It has been said that the Giants sent Willie to Sandersville just to get rid of him. He was such an unknown that the Sandersville Progress first called him “Willie McCoohren.” It was April 25, 1955 when the young seventeen-year-old slugger was to play his first game for the Sandersville Giants. The Giants opened the 1955 season at home versus the Dublin Irish. Mayor Tom Carr of Sandersville threw out the first pitch to Mayor Felton Pierce of Dublin. Georgia State League President was the ceremonial first batter. Furman Bisher, the legendary sports columnist of the Atlanta Constitution was present to witness the birth of a legend. McCovey reached base in his first plate appearance and scored a run. The Giants went on to defeat the Irish 4-1.

The Giants and the Irish would face each other 21 more times during the season. In those games the Giants took an 11-10 advantage. McCovey batted just under .300, driving in 15 runs and smacking five home runs. The highlight of his games against the Irish came on May 26, when he belted two home runs. When he was a young man, Dublin resident Melvin Hester, remembered one of those mammoth McCovey wacks. I remember it as if it was yesterday when Hester, my Sunday School teacher, told a group of us boys that McCovey hit one over Telfair Street. Whether on several bounces or on the fly, that was a real good knock, well over 500 feet.

 
McCovey led the Giants to a second place finish in the Georgia State League.  Though his batting average (.305), home runs (19) and runs batted in (113) in 107 games was very impressive, they were no where near league records. McCovey did lead the league in rbi and putouts. He ended his first season 5th in runs scored, 3rd in total bases and 4th in extra base hits. Playing that season with McCovey in Sandersville was Julio Navarro, a journeyman infielder, who made it to the major leagues in the 1960s.

Willie McCovey rapidly climbed the steps of the big leagues. After successful seasons in Danville, Va. And Dallas, Tx. , he was elevated to Phoenix of the Pacific Coast League. In 1958 and the first half of the 1959 season, Willie batted .319 and .372. The Giants were in the midst of a pennant race with their arch rival foes, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants needed Willie’s left handed big bat in the lineup.

He was immediately sent into the starting lineup to replace another young star and powerful hitter Orlando Cepeda, who moved to the outfield. In his very first game, McCovey went 4-4 against future Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts. He finished the season with a startling record of 13 home runs, 38 rbi and .354 batting average in 52 games, a feat which earned him a unanimous selection as National League Rookie of the Year. In 1962, with a company of heavy hitters including Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou, McCovey led the Giants to the National League Championship and a berth in the World Series. McCovey nearly became a legendary series hero only to have a series winning line drive snared by Yankee second
baseman Bobby Richardson, who preserved the American League powerhouse’s victory. Willie achieved his best season to date when he belted 44 home runs and drove in 102 runs in 1963.

It was during the seasons of 1968 through1970 when Willie McCovey began his journey to baseball immortality. In that three-year span, McCovey hit 36, 45 and 39 home runs and batted in 105, 126 and 126 runs. His 1969 season, deemed by most to be his best, led to his election as National League Most Valuable Player.

Following three seasons at the top of his game, McCovey limped through the rest of his career, frequently playing in excruciating pain. He missed a third of the ‘71 season as well a half of the ‘72 campaign. Much to the dismay of Giant fans everywhere, McCovey was sent down the Pacific Coast to the San Diego Padres for two seasons. In 1976, the aging star was again traded, this time to the Oakland A’s, across the bay from San Francisco. To the cheers of thousands of adoring fans, McCovey returned to the Giants in 1977. The height of his active baseball career came in Atlanta in 1978, when Willie McCovey became only the 12th man and the 3rd Giant ever to hit 500 home runs.

 
In 1986, Willie McCovey was elected to Baseball Hall of Fame with a highly respectable 81% of the ballots in his first year of eligibility. Willie was selected to a half dozen all star games and played in two world series in 1962 and 1971 with a .310 batting average. In his 2588 game career, Willie McCovey safely hit 2211 times with 521 of those hits being home runs. He drove in a remarkable 1555 runs and all the while hitting for a career average of .270, all of this accomplished by a young kid who began his dream in the lowest levels of baseball right here in East Central Georgia, trumped the doubters and when he retired in 1980 was the 12th greatest home run hitter in baseball history.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WHAT IS WAS, WAS BASEBALL

The Dublin Athletics



Dublin Athletic Herbert Barnhill at bat in the Negro Leagues.





In the dark days of the Great Depression it seemed the whole world had two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was a time when despair and desolation enveloped the nation, but couldn't kill it's soul, the game of baseball - the national pastime. Most its players played for free or just enough for pay for a hot meal and a soft bed. The blessed got paid. Some like Babe Ruth were paid $80,000 a year. Then there were the barnstormers, men who played day after day anywhere anyone would show up and pay to see a good game of baseball. This is the story of a group of Dublin based men who enjoyed successful seasons in one of the minor Negro leagues of the South in 1932 and 1933.

Carved out of a rolling meadow of the fully undeveloped Dudley Cemetery on East Mary Street, the team's sand lot paled in comparison to the cross-town 12th District Fairground diamond where the self-styled "Gas House Gang" and World Champion St. Louis Cardinals took on the university boys from Athens and Atlanta. Semi adequate backstops and invisible outfield fencing rarely contained out of play balls which often sailed into the thickest of thickets or over nameless graves of once beloved souls. Attendance varied according to the what time of the day the game was played. Those who had jobs could scarcely slip away to watch the game, while those who didn't have a livelihood watched for free from afar or opted instead to spend their pennies on a much coveted hot meal.

When the 1932 season opened the team didn't even have a nickname. Suggestions were sought. But since no better name was suggested, Courier Herald sportswriter Joseph Leath began calling the team the "Dublin Athletics" or the "Dublin A's" for short. Leath, who reported the highlights of the A's games in the "Colored News" section of The Dublin Courier Herald, chose the name because of the success of the Philadelphia Athletics on the National League, who had just the year posted the highest winning percentage of any team in the decade of the 1930s. Leath also solicited names for the park, but the team settled on the generic "Mary Street Park."

Picking a winning team wasn't an easy task. There was no draft and no minor leagues.  Better Georgians like Josh Gibson and Jackie Robinson played for the real Negro League teams in the big cities. Former Dubliner Quincey Trouppe played for many teams during his highly successful two decade career. The league was an association of south Georgia teams composed mainly of local men, sometimes boosted by a unknown phenom signed before another team could grab him. Team rosters changed and often. New players, who shined in tryouts, beat out those who struggled in the field and behind the plate. Luther Hendricks, who lived on Vine Street, managed the team in it's first year. The first reported game, an extra inning affair, resulted in road victory over Wrightsville 11-9. Playing for Dublin were Kiler, 1b; May, rf; Frank Howard, 3b; J.D. Howard, Captain and cf; Butler, c; Brown, p; Horne, ss; and Gilliard, 2b.


About a month into the season the A's added Gillis, Brooks, Jenkins, Oliver, Chesnut, Kiler and Newton to their team. The latter three men came on to lead the A's to an outstanding second half of the season. Reese, perhaps Jimmy Reese who played for the Atlanta Black Crackers in later years, had an outstanding season on the mound for the A's.


In the 1932 season, the Athletics played teams from Jessup, Hawkinsville, Wrightsville, Sandersville, Macon, Ailey, Gordon, Vidalia, Milledgeville, Forsyth, Wrens, Augusta and Athens. The highlight of the season was a two-game series against the Chattanooga Black Look Outs on August 3rd and 4th. The A's held the powerful Black Look Outs to a 1-1 tie in the first game with Big Lefty Chestnut (No. 44) going 2-5 and holding the team, which once included the legendary Satchel Paige in his first year of professional baseball. The A's lost a heartbreaker (5-4) in the second game against the visitors who were on a barnstorming tour of Georgia. As the A's enjoyed great successes, attendance swelled. Many white fans came to watch the best game in town. A second highlight came a week later when the Athletics defeated the Macon All Stars, who lost their first game of the season. The season ended with a tie with the Augusta All Stars followed by four consecutive two-game sweeps of Augusta and Athens, and Chestnut's 16 strike out victory over the a team from Jacksonville, Florida, just days after he pitched a one hit shut out of the Augusta team.

The 1933 A's opened their season with a tilt against Greenville, S.C. with J.H. Hicks managing new players Garner, Blacker, Bush, Book, Kiler, Ford, Davis and Major Freeman. Within a month, Luther Kendrick returned to the helm of the team and brought back some of the outstanding players from the '32 season. The 1933 team played some new teams, the Augusta Wolves, Macon Red Sox, Augusta Giants, Columbus Red Caps, Macon Peaches, Eastman White Sox, Atlanta Blues, Forsyth, Fitzgerald, Glenville, Wrightsville, Waynesboro, Savannah All Stars, and Chattanooga. The Athletics featured a powerful lineup: Vondale, 2b; Will Hayes, ss; Jake D. Howard, lf; Squat Jones, cf; Jimmy Reese, p, 1b; Herb Barnhill, c; Chestnut, p, rf; Massey, 3b and Emory Davis, p.

Without a doubt the most valuable player for the A's was the man with no first name. Known simply as "Chestnut," or "No. 44," the tall lanky southpaw dominated every team he faced. In 1933, he compiled a record of at least 14 wins with only one known loss, that loss coming at the hands of the powerful Montgomery Grey Sox of the Negro Southern League. In his sole defeat, "No. 44" struck out 14 Grey Sox and allowed five hits, but lost a twelve inning 2-1 game. Chestnut struck out 18 Atlanta Blues batters surrendering only 1 hit win following a nineteen strike out one hitter against Forsyth. "With big league control and the steam of a pile driver," Chestnut defeated the Macon Peaches in five games, including driving in the winning runs with two out in the bottom of the 9th inning in front of 500 fans. It has been said that he had such good control that his catcher could turn around, squat and catch the ball between his legs.
Following a successful 4th of July series, it was announced that the team was on the verge of bankruptcy. Manager Hendricks resigned when players went to Sheriff Wiley Adams and demanded that they be paid the team salary of $75.00 for the past two weeks. Hendricks contended that he had paid his players with money he had personally borrowed and hoped to pay back out of gate receipts. The Athletics surfaced from the storm with a new name and new uniforms. The Dublin All Stars under their new manager and left fielder Jake Howard and their new owner Bracewell Troup began to play better teams throughout the Southeast, including the Jacksonville Red Caps, Montgomery Grey Sox and the Tampa All Stars, whom the Dublin Stars defeated in the self styled Georgia Florida championship.

Jimmy (Lefty, Big Jim, Slim) Reese won 20 games for the Atlanta Black Crackers in 1937. The tall lefthander and Morris Brown College graduate taught school in Atlanta before he was signed by the Indianapolis ABC's in 1939. He finished his short career in 1940 as a member of the Baltimore Elite Giants.



Herbert "Herb" Barnhill spent nine seasons in the Negro American League. He caught for the Jacksonville Red Caps in 1938 and again in 1941 and 1942. In the intervening years the Red Caps played in Cleveland Ohio under the name of the Bears. In 1943, Barnhill signed with the Kansas City Monarchs, one of the most famous teams in Negro League history. Considered an average catcher and a weak hitter, Barnhill spent his last three seasons (1944-1946) as a member of the Chicago American Giants.

Barnhill, while a member of the Red Caps, worked as a railroad porter from September to March along with his teammates. A right thumb permanently bent back at a right angle was the result of catching some of the great pitchers of the Negro Leagues for more than fourteen years.  One of the biggest highlights of Barnhill's career was pushing a batter out of the way and tagging out Jackie Robinson at home plate. More than fifty years after he retired, Barnhill still remembered the sting of racial discrimination, but was contented with the fact that more people attended the Negro League games than their white counterparts. Herb Barnhill passed away in Jacksonville, Florida on July 25, 2004. He was the last of the Jacksonville Red Caps and the last of the Dublin Athletics.

The 1933 Dublin Athletics/All Stars ended the season with a documented record of 31-11 and were credited as being one of the best teams in the South. But the question remains, what ever happened to ol' Chestnut, "No. 44?" Like the legendary Satchel Paige, the dominating lefty always wanted to pitch both ends of a double header. Perhaps he moved on to a new team with a new name and made it to the big leagues. Or perhaps today after the death of his catcher Herb Barnhill, the last survivor of the Dublin Athletics, "No. 44" is still mowing them down on the fields of dreams across the heavens.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

THEY CALLED THEM BLUEJACKETS

African American Sailors in the Civil War


They weren’t the typical Civil War soldiers. They weren’t white. In fact, they weren’t soldiers at all. They were sailors, seamen of the United States Navy. This is the story of seven native born east-central Georgians who served in the almighty Federal Navy while it maintained its stranglehold over shipping lanes along the
southeastern coasts during the Civil War.

The United States Army developed a policy of seizing slaves from Southern plantation owners and employing them as laborers. Up and down the South Atlantic Coast former slaves were freed. They flocked into camps along coastal islands. It became readily apparent that these people could provide both army and navy commanders with valuable information. These former slaves provided the Union Navy with invaluable intelligence information, including the location of Confederate fortifications, navigation information along inland waterways, and foraging of supplies and food.

Originally the Negro sailors were considered mere laborers and were paid a minuscule salary. Eventually the men were treated for pay purposes as equal to the whites and were allowed to be promoted for outstanding performance of their duties. Some sailors rose to the rank of pilot. These river pilots provided vital services to the Federal navy.

While the true number of black soldiers on both sides of the conflict will never be known, most historians believe that at least fifty thousand or more Southern blacks served in the Confederate Army. Many were used in support roles, but company commanders needing bodies to fill in the lines were not opposed to filling their ranks with blacks, in complete deference to the official policy of the Confederate government. Among the most famous black Confederate soldiers was Private Bill Yopp of the 14th Georgia Infantry. A Laurens Countian by birth, Yopp, who surrendered with his company at Appomattox, is the only African-American Confederate soldier buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia.

Records of black Confederate casualties are virtually non-existent, though black Union casualties have been estimated to have been nearly forty thousand.

It has been estimated that some eighteen thousand former slaves served in the United States Navy during the Civil War. Four hundred seventeen of them are known to have been born in Georgia. A good portion of native Georgians serving in the Union Navy gave the place of their birth as Georgia, with no indication of the county of their birth. At least three Laurens Countians are known to have served in the Union Army during the war. Unfortunately, further efforts to trace the lives of these three men after the war were futile. Neither of the three men appear in any Federal censuses after the war.

Myers Blackshear, the oldest of three native Laurens Countians to serve in the Union Navy, was born in 1826. A five-foot five-inch tall farmer, Blackshear enlisted for a three-year term on December 31, 1863. Blackshear was assigned as a 3rd Class Boy aboard the U.S.S. Restless. On April 1, 1864, Blackshear was reassigned to the U.S.S. San Jacinto.

The San Jacinto, named for the climatic battle of the War for Texas Independence, was the Navy’s second screw frigate. The ship participated in the Virginia Peninsula campaign of 1862. In the last year of the war, the San Jacinto was assigned to blockade duty along the Southeastern and Gulf coasts. The ship was lost on New Year’s Day in 1865, when she sunk on a reef near Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas.

Francis Hughes, a barber by trade, was born in Laurens County in 1827.  Hughes enlisted for one year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1863. He was assigned as a landsman aboard the U.S.S. State of Georgia. A landsman in 19th Century language was a sailor on his first voyage or one who is inexperienced in sailing. The USS State of Georgia was a side wheel stern steamship and was often in dry dock for repairs. The ship saw limited action in the first half of 1864 during Hughes’ tenure on the ship.

George Hozendorf, born in 1836, listed himself as unemployed when he enlisted in the United States Navy at Fernandina Island, Florida on March 31, 1864. This five-foot three-inch tall native of Laurens County was assigned as a landsman aboard the U.S.S. Para. The Para, a 190-ton mortar schooner, saw action throughout the war, primarily off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  In the summer of 1864, the Para participated in a mission up the Stono River in South Carolina.

Joseph Crawford, a forty-six-year-old Emanuel County laborer, enlisted in the navy for the duration of the war at St. George’s Sound on July 27, 1863. He served as a First Class Boy aboard the USS Somerset until the summer of 1865. Crawford served aboard the Somerset with his younger brother Cato Crawford. The younger Crawford enlisted for the war on July 15, 1863 at St. George’s Sound. The Somerset, a wooden-hulled side-wheel ferry boat was used primarily to block Southern blockade runners. On March 30, 1865, the ship destroyed the salt works on St. Joseph’s Bayou.

Andrew Brown, a five-foot eleven inch Twiggs County native, was born in 1825. He enlisted “for the cruise” at Key West, Florida on March 4, 1863. He served from April 1, 1863 to September 1863 aboard the San  acinto. In that month he transferred to the USS James L. Davis until December. Brown returned to San Jacinto for few days before returning back to the James L. Davis once again. His last assignment was aboard the San Jacinto.

Sampson Freeman, the third man of the group to serve aboard the USS Somerset, was born in Wilkinson County, Georgia in 1832. He enlisted for the duration of the war on July 1, 1863. He was a laborer by profession and served aboard the Somerset until June 1865.

Records of the participation of the black soldiers and sailors in both armies are scant. As a result of the popularity of the movie “Glory,” more attention has been drawn to the former slaves and free blacks who served in the Union Army.

However, much less attention has been paid to those who were slaves and fought in defense of their homeland despite its dogged determination to maintain the abomination of slavery. Many historians, including the highly respected Ed Bearrs of the National Park Service, believe their was a coverup to obscure the service records of those slaves who served the Confederacy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

MEL LATTANY


Born to Run



Mel Lattany could run. He could run faster than all but a few dozen people in the history of the World. As the athletes of the United States are competing in Athens, Greece in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, this former Dublin Junior High School teacher made his mark on the tracks of another Athens, Athens, Georgia, a quarter of a century ago. Considered by one panel of authorities as the 6th greatest sprinter of all time, Mel Lattany was among those Olympians who were denied their chance to capture the gold medal by the preposterous politics of the Cold War.

Born Melvin Lattany on August 10, 1959 in Brunswick, Ga., Mel made a bold promise to his family when he was only eight years old. He sat at the dinner table and told his doubting siblings that “I am going to be the first Lattany to put our name in the papers nationwide.” Mel, an all state track and football star at Glynn Academy in Brunswick, was given a track scholarship to the University of Georgia, where he began his career in the spring of 1978. A sportswriter predicted that this swift freshman would become an Olympian. Mel lived up to his reputation when he set a Junior World Record at the U.S. Air Force Academy on June 20, 1979. His time of 10.09 seconds still stands as seventh best ever for a man under the age of twenty
and is only 0.04 seconds shy of the current World record. As a sophomore at Georgia, Lattany’s sprint of 20.28 in the 200m, earned him the ranking as the 6th best sprinter in the World.

Mel continued to excel in track events around the country. He set the Southeastern Conference record for a 60-yard dash with a mark of 6.14 seconds. His third place finish at the 1980 Olympic trials in the 100m led to his selection to a spot in the 100m event and 4x100m relay team, along with Carl Lewis, Stanley Floyd and Harvey Glance, Mel’s idol. In a university known more for its football prowess, Mel became only the 5th Bulldog track star to earn a berth on the Olympic team. Just after his selection to the team, President Jimmy Carter, in a protest of Soviet imperialism, ordered that the United States would stage a boycott of the quadrennial games. Lattany, like most other athletes, was disappointed and bewildered by the decision. “It’s really a shame about the boycott,” said Mel. Not seeing the action as a solution to the World’s problems, Lattany told reporters, “The Olympics should not be political at all. This has destroyed many of the goals and ambitions of a lot of athletes.” Lead by Carl Lewis and three SEC sprinters, the relay team was the favorite to win the gold medal in 1980.

Despite the initiation of the boycott, Mel continued to run in events throughout the country and Europe. He won the Liberty Bell Classic in the 100m dash. In a tour of Europe that summer, Mel enjoyed a gratifying victory over Alan Wells of the United Kingdom, the gold medal winner of that year’s Olympics. The 1981 season saw Mel, rated only behind Carl Lewis at the World’s top sprinter, win the World Cup in 200m dash with a mark of 20.21 seconds, only a 1/100 of a second behind the best time of the year. In the 100m event, Mel ran one of his best times ever. His time of 10.04 was 4/100 of a second behind Carl Lewis’s season best time of 10 seconds flat. Earlier that season, the 10.04 time was good enough to time the amateur record set in the 1968 Olympics. Wherever Mel ran, there was always Carl Lewis to spoil his chances of finishing first. In the 1981 NCAA championships, Mel broke out to an early lead in the 100m, only to be overtaken by Lewis, who finished in 9.99 seconds, only a slim 0.07 seconds ahead of Lattany. Mel’s career best in the 60-yard dash of 6.10 seconds was not good enough to beat a 6.04 world record set by Stanley Floyd.

In the 1981 Drake Relays, Mel, a nine time collegiate All-American, capped off his collegiate career with his 4th consecutive win in the 100-meter race, a feat unprecedented in the history of the prestigious event. For his outstanding performance at the relays, Mel was awarded the distinguished Maury White Award. Lattany placed first in the 100m event, finishing more than a quarter of a second ahead of teammate Herschel Walker. In addition to his sprint victories, Mel anchored the 400m and 800m champion relay teams.

In the summer of 1981, Mel attempted to live out his childhood dream of playing college football for the Bulldogs. The Bulldog coaching staff salivated at the prospect of having the second fastest man in the World running post patterns on the turf of Sanford Stadium in their drive to win a second consecutive national championship. Mel’s lack of football skills prevented him from making the team. The following year Mel continued to run and train in hopes of garnering a spot to perform at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. On July 30, 1983, Lattany, ranked 3rd in the World, set a world record in the rarely run 300m dash at Gateshead with a time of 32.15 seconds.

At the age of 24, Mel Lattany, a 1983 education graduate of UGA, was peaking in his attempt to win a Gold Medal. In the 100-meter event at the 1984 Spec Towns Meet in Athens, the sprinter recorded a time of 9.96, the fastest time that year and the fastest ever at such a low altitude. His mark was only 0.01 seconds short of Jim Lines’ world record. Think about how short a hundredth of a second  is. Lattany was awarded a spot as an alternate on the 4x100 relay team, which won the Gold Medal in Los Angeles in 1984. For his participation on the team, Mel was also awarded a Gold Medal, a bittersweet prize after a muscle tear and a subsequent injury led to his inability to compete with the world’s fastest sprinters and forced him to watch his teammates from the sidelines.

After only one win at the Jesse Owen’s Classic at Columbus, Ohio in May 1985, Mel once again turned his sights on football. He was given a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys in the summer of 1985. Although he could outrun the football and possessed a dogged determination to succeed, Mel’s lack of football skills prevented him from making the team. A reversal of the determination of amateur status in the United States led to his reinstatement to compete in amateur events.

In 1986, Lattany turned down an offer to come to Dublin to teach Industrial Arts at Dublin Junior High School. He chose to remain in Athens where he could train in hopes of making the 1988 Olympic team. When a 1987 car accident spoiled his chances to make the team, Mel decided to take up the offer in 1989. Mel preferred the slower pace of life in Dublin. He continued to train, but less intensely than before. He had his goals, but he realized that he was rapidly approaching an age when victories would be out of reach. Mel enjoyed teaching and coached the members of the high school track team. He hoped to publish a book to guide young athletes through their collegiate and professional careers.

Mel Lattany’s track career came to end when his legs could no longer carry him as fast as his heart wanted them to. For as long as he lives, Mel Lattany can claim that at one time, he was the fastest human being on the face of the Earth. Only 43 men have run a faster forty-yard dash and one hundred-yard dash. In his prime, Mel could sprint the length of a football field faster than most of us could run across a highway.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

IMAGENE STEWART



Bishop Imagene Stewart
@ The History Makers


Compassionate Warrior



Imagene Stewart has many battles to fight. She comes armed with a life long cache of compassion. Her morale is high. Surrounded by the mighty fortress of God, she fights on against the mortal enemies of time and apathy. Where she feels pain, she heals it. Where she senses loneliness, she comforts it. Where she sees an American flag, she salutes it.



Born Imagene Bigham in Dublin, Georgia on September 23, 1942, she learned the foundation of her life from her parents, Rev. J.C. Bigham and Mattie Watkins Bigham, who married in Laurens County, Georgia on November 28, 1941. Imagene married Lucius Johnson on August 11, 1958. After her marriage to Lucius "L.C." Johnson ended, she lived in public housing in H.T. Jones Village with her mother, and her two sons, Michael Tyrone Johnson and Jeffrey Lorenzo Johnson. She worked a domestic servant just like her mother. Imagene learned all too well of the injustices of life in the country in the fifties and early sixties. She participated in many civil rights marches in Dublin with the Bates sisters.



It was in 1963 when she began to prepare for the battles to come. She traveled to Washington, D.C. with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a member of the Georgia delegation on the March on Washington. She stayed in Washington and was an active member of the the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Recently, she told a reporter for The Pentagram, " I came here to fight racial injustice. I thought that white people were against me, but I realized that there were blacks against me too."



As more and more veterans of the Vietnam War came home, she realized that many of them had no home to come home to. In 1972, she opened a shelter for homeless veterans. " It seemed like some people forgot the Vietnam veterans," said Rev. Stewart, an ordained Baptist minister. She continued, " Those people gave us the freedoms we enjoy everyday. They are the life-line of this country."



Stewart, a harsh critic of the Veterans Administration for its seemingly uncaring treatment of homeless and helpless veterans and their families, refused to accept donations from the federal government. "Veterans are discarded by the military. The country does nothing for its homeless veterans," she said. She accused many other similar shelter operators of bilking the government of funds without really caring for the veterans. Following the success of her six-family center on P Street in Washington, D.C., she opened a ten-family shelter in the Suitland section of the city.
Today in her twenty room House of Imagene, she provides bunk beds for twenty five people.





There are occasions when veterans come in with the grandchildren, who have been left in their custody by neglective parents. Rev. Stewart welcomes them all with open arms. For more than three decades, she served meals on Thanksgiving Day to the homeless. Thanksgiving Day 2003, when her shelter served three thousand meals, was the last time her shelter serve the homeless on Thanksgiving. Her health and her age are beginning to fail her. Stewart said, " I’ve gotten too old and my health is deteriorating. I can’t do what I used to do. I just feel I’ve been shoe-stringed for all the years and got no support. I’m at the point where I need help. I’ve enjoyed it, and I don’t think God would be pleased with me to walk away, even after 32 years."



Imagene married Albert Stewart, a veteran of the Korean War. Both of her sons served in the military. Imagene told the reporter from the Pentagram, " I always wanted to be a soldier, but in those days the military rarely accepted teenage mothers." She keeps close to the military as much as she can. She visits the wounded and maimed soldiers who are being sent from Iraq to Walter Reed Hospital. "They are babies, 18- and 19-year-olds without arms and legs. What are they going to do when they try to pick up their lives?" she wonders. She has served as Chaplain of the Tuskegee Airman Civil Air Patrol at Andrews Air Force Base.



Stewart served as the National Vice President of the Eastern Division of the American Legion Auxiliary from 2000 to 2001. She served as president of her local legion auxiliary as well as on the executive board of D.C. Veterans & Auxiliaries Council Veterans Against Drugs. She has been a member of the U.S. Air Force Mother’s Club, American War Mothers and Amvets Auxiliary. In addressing the convention of the American Legion in 2001, she commented on the suggestion that blacks pledge allegiance to Africa and not the American flag, she brought forth a thunderous standing ovation when she told the gathering of veterans, "Well, honey, I ain’t never been to Africa. . . I was born in the United States of America, very proudly." She has been named by the National President of the Legion Auxiliary as "An Angel in Action" for her decades of showing mercy to homeless veterans.



Stewart was consecrated presiding Bishop of the African American Women's Clergy Association during a Women's History Month celebration March 2, 1996 at the Chapel of Hope, Shilo Baptist Church. She is a pastor of the Greater Pearly Gate Full Gospel Baptist Church, Bishop Stewart was the first African-American minister elected National Chaplain to the American Legion Auxiliary.



Bishop Stewart has been awarded numerous accolades for her community service. In 1991, she was commended by President Bush for efforts in meeting the needs of homeless veterans. The next year, she was awarded the prestigious " Living the Dream Award" for her service to battered women. Oh yes, the House of Imagene takes in victims of domestic violence in the D.C. Area. Are you surprised? In 2000, she was awarded a Leadership Award by the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. She has been commended by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has provided his own support of homeless veterans in Washington. On Feb. 8, 2004, she was awarded a community service award by Fort Myer, which Bishop Stewart calls a "thankless job, but somebody has to do it." In her spare time, Bishop Stewart hosts a Sunday morning radio talk show on WOL 1450 AM in Washington, D.C., where she is known to her listeners as "The Georgia Peach."



For decades, Bishop Stewart has been a leading advocate for a constitutional amendment to protect the American flag from desecration. Despite the fact that most states have asked the Congress to adopt such an amendment, the Congress has failed to act. She served on the board of the Citizens Flag Alliance and urged her listeners to speak out in favor of the amendment to protect the flag.



While Imagene has long been an advocate for the rights of her people, she doesn’t consider herself an African-American. "Some people tell me my allegiance should be to Africa," she told the Pentagram reporter. "I’m from the USA. I’m an American," she proudly proclaimed. She is often criticized for her support of President George W. Bush, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t an advocate for social rights. She always has been there to defend and promote the rights of all persons. She has adopted a policy of "love one, love all." She supports President Bush for his strong stance in protecting the freedoms we enjoy following the Attack of America.
Today, Bishop Stewart is fighting the biggest battle of her life. It is a personal one, the battle against ovarian cancer. Tonight when you go to bed, say a prayer for this "Compassionate Warrior." Pray for her health and those she fights for. If you would like to help, write Bishop Stewart at 214 P Street Washington, D.C. 20001.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BISHOP HENRY M. TURNER



Bishop Henry M. Turner


Bishop, Statesman and Activist


More than two hundred and fifty ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church gathered in Dublin in November 1898 for the annual meeting of the Macon Conference. Presiding over the conference was Rev. Henry McNeal Turner, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. For over half a century Bishop Turner was a guiding force within the church as well as a national leader of African American people throughout the country.

The annual conference convened on November 17, 1898. The Rev. E.P. Holmes, Presiding Elder of the Dublin District, opened the meeting in the temporary absence of Bishop Turner. The opening services were conducted by Reverends E.W. Lee, C.C. Cargile, W.C. Gaines and Dr. J.A. Davis.

Education within the church was the subject of the Sunday session. Prof. John Hawkins, Superintendent of Education, proudly proclaimed that within the last thirty years Negroes had wiped out forty-two percent of their illiteracy. He reported that within his department there were forty one schools, 165 teachers and 1,585 students. Rev. James Henderson, president of Morris Brown College, told the assembly of the improvements at the college. Rev. Henderson reported than in the past fifteen years, more than eight hundred thousand dollars had been raised for education. He was followed by Prof. George Woodson of Payne Seminary. Bishop James M. Dwane of Queensborough, South Africa pleaded with the ministers to appropriate $3000.00 to build a college in his country. A wave of enthusiasm ensued and more than $1000.00 was raised for Morris Brown College.

During the week long conference there were large meetings of the Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society under the direction of Mrs. S.J. Duncan of Selma, Alabama and Mrs. J. Donley of Grenada, Mississippi. Among the noted ministers attending the conference were; Rev. T.N.M. Smith of Savannah, Rev. C.H.J. Taylor of Atlanta, Rev. H.B. Parks, Secretary of Missions, New York, Rev. R.M. Cheeks, Editor of the Southern Recorder, Atlanta, Prof. H.T. Kealing, editor of the Quarterly Review, of Philadelphia, Rev. J.J. Higgs of Springfield, Mass., Rev. Wright Newman of Americus, Rev. F.F. Boddle of Milledgeville, and Reverends A.B. Jackson of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church Macon, J.R. Brazill and B.J. Walton of the Baptist churches of Macon.

On the last full day of the conference, the white citizens of Dublin welcomed the visitors. Rev. George C. Thompson and Rev. J.W. Domingos of the First Methodist Episcopal Church and Rev. J.C. Solomon of Dublin First Baptist Church delivered well received messages to the delegates. Rev. A.A. Whitman, the poet laureate of the church, told the ministers " The human mind is a sea upon which there is room for every wave of thought. No one gets so high that the Gospel cannot reach him." At the special instance of those present, Bishop Turner preached at the Tabernacle at 11:00 a.m. and again at the county courthouse at 3:00 p.m.

As the session came to a close, Bishop Turner ordained elders W.S. Dugged, T.J. Linton, F.J. Reeves, and A.S. Martin. He announced the ministerial assignments for the upcoming year. It was just after midnight when Bishop Turner rose to speak for the final time. His sermon until 4:00 a.m. on November 22nd.

Bishop Turner gave the ministers a message he had been espousing for more than two decades. That message was the Negro had no future in this country and that he should return, at the expense of the American government, to his ancestral homeland in Africa. The Rev. Turner said, " I see no manhood future for the Negro in this county, and the man who is not able to discover that fact from existing conditions must be void of common sense. Our evil, political and social status is degrading, and as degradation begets degradation, the Negro must go from bad to worse ad infinitum. Neither education nor wealth can ever elevate us to the grade of respectability. I say this, because we are surrounded by so many influences that militate against our manhood."

The Bishop continued, " The best thing the Negro can do is to call a great national convention and ask the United States congress for a hundred million dollars to meet the expense of starting a line of steamers between this country and Africa;, thus pioneering a domain for our settlement. With this start upon the part of the general government, which actually owes us forty billion dollars for the 246 years of labor, we could build up a business that would enable us to transport to Africa as many of our race as are fit to go. If the United States has hundred of millions to throw away in useless war, and for other foolish things, surely it can appropriate a hundred million dollars to the most loyal inhabitants it has within its domain."

He concluded by saying, " The white people themselves had infinitely better appropriate a hundred million dollars, if we are the raping monsters which the public press charges us with being, than to be shedding so much blood, when I know and you all know how much of that blood is innocent blood, and innocent blood will speak to God day and night for retribution till God overthrows the nation, as he did in the Roman Empire. And I have the ear of the country, it is very likely I shall call such a convention within the next three or six months, for if the Negro does not say or do something in his own defense, he is not only an inferior race, but he is not fit to be ranked as a human being."

Henry McNeal Turner was born in 1834 near Abbeville, South Carolina. He was fervent in his studies and read under the supervision of white lawyers. He was ordained a minister in 1853 at the age of nineteen. In 1860, he was ordained a deacon and two years later in 1862, he was ordained an elder in the church. At the beginning of the Civil War, Rev. Turner was commissioned Chaplain of the First Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops, making him the first Negro chaplain in the United States Army. Following the war, he moved to Georgia and began preaching at St. Phillips A.M.E. Church in Savannah, the mother church of African Methodism in Georgia. It has been said that he founded more than one hundred A.M.E. churches. In 1868, Rev. Turner was elected to a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives from Bibb County. He was unseated by the State of Georgia, but was returned to office by the federal government and his finished his term in 1870. During his time in the legislature, Rev. Turner served as Postmaster of Macon. As Rep. Turner, he introduced bills to establish colleges for Negroes, to establish a black militia to combat the KKK and to give women the right to vote.

In 1877, Turner was elected Vice-president of the African Colonization Society. He was a founder of the Southern Christian Recorder and the Women's Home and Foreign Missionary Society. In 1880, Henry Turner was ordained the twelfth bishop of the A.M.E. Church. For a dozen years, Bishop Turner served as Chancellor of Morris Brown College in Atlanta. Bishop Turner led two expeditions to Africa in the 1890s and promulgated the establishment of missionary work in Africa.

Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, A.M.E. died on May 8, 1915. He was mourned by more than twenty five thousand persons who attended his funeral. In his quarter of a century as Bishop, Turner was controversial to say the least. He built bridges with the Baptist Church, appointed a woman as a deacon in the church and alienated many whites across the South, who attempted to discredit him by charging him with crimes.

During this Black History Month, let us remember that Bishop Turner was wrong in his assessment of the future of the Negro in America. In the century which has followed his sermon in Dublin, African Americans have risen to heights far above what the Bishop could ever have imagined.

Monday, August 24, 2009

BLACK FARMERS 1870

BLACK FARMERS*
LAURENS COUNTY, GEORGIA 1870
* Not listed as farm laborers

J. Blackshear
Thomas Clark
Warren Burch
Jordan Burch **
J. Yonks **
D. McLendon
David Willis
M. Amons
Porter Dodd
T. Clark
E. Smith
John McKenney
G. McLendon
Robert Stanley **
Sandy Stanley **
S. Ellington
Louis Daniel
Samuel Mitchell
James Baker
Chuck? Yopp
Norman Yopp
Ezekiel Yopp
Moses Yopp **
Henry Yopp
Harriett Harvard
Daniel Brazeal
Champ Troup
Jessie Troup
Richard Yopp
Samuel Graham
Joe White
Zag? Scarborough
William Mason
Jacob Fullwood
Jacob Coney **
Hamlett McCall
William Coats **
David Lock **
James Tucker
Wright Crawford
Ringold Perry
Madison Troup
Jack Long
George Clark
Rich Troup
Mark Troup
C. Edmond
E. Fuqua
C. Moore **

** Owner of real estate

Sunday, August 23, 2009

WASHINGTON STREET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH




WASHINGTON STREET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
A Half Century of Service

This Sunday, the second Sunday in October, the members of Washington Street Presbyterian Church will celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the genesis of the one of Dublin's oldest and most community minded churches. Over the last half century, the members of the congregation have been active in many facets of leadership in our community, and in particular, they have taken a leading role in the education of our children.

Just after lunch on the afternoon of October 11, 1953, the Rev. Glenn Dorris called a congregation of people to worship in the assembly building of the Dublin 4- H Club. Rev. Dorris, pastor of Henry Memorial Presbyterian Church, had been approached by Lucius T. Bacote and Luther Coleman concerning the organization of a Presbyterian Church for the Negro citizens of Dublin. Coleman and Bacote invited others to join them in their dream of establishing a new church. They met in homes around the city and formulated plans for the initial service. Rev. Dorris took a short lunch break after his morning sermon at Henry Memorial and traveled across the city to the Assembly Building on the grounds of the 4-H Club. For nearly three decades, Dublin was the site of the Georgia Colored 4-H Club. Students from all over the state assembled in Dublin to have fun and to learn how to become more well rounded citizens of their state. During the following November, Lucius T. Bacote, Marine C. Bacote, Freya Bacote, Muriel Bacote, Luther Coleman, Nellie Coleman, and Mary Foster met and formed the nucleus of the founding members of the church. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by Melba Baker, Anne M. Coates, Loutrell Fambrough, Eula Jackson, Mary Hester, and Tranas Long. Officially, the fourteen charter members were considered to be members of Henry Memorial, but in fact they were busy organizing and forming their own church. In the three years before the church became officially established, the members moved their services to the Katie Dudley Village Center.

The members called the well respected Bridges Edwards, Sr. to become the first pastor of their church in August of 1955. The church was under the direction of the Augusta-Presbytery, which bought a house at 112 Carter Street to serve as a manse for Rev. Bridges and his family. Rev. Dorris guided the members of the church through official channels to begin construction on a lot on lower South Washington Street, which was donated by Rep. W.H. Lovett. The building, designed by prominent Macon architects Dennis and Dennis, was built of brick, block, and tile, all donated by Elder Warren Reid of the First Presbyterian Church of Milledgeville, Georgia. The Presbyterian Church's General Assembly granted $40,000.00 and approved a $20,000.00 loan to complete the project. Several church members had a talent for construction and lent their time and labor to the construction of the building under the supervision of Bud Kimbell. Dick Henry of Henry Memorial served as treasurer of the building fund. The building committee was composed of Rev. Edwards, Lucius Bacote, Melba Baker, Hosie Simpson, Luther Coleman, Nellie Coleman, and George Spicer, a Dublin businessman and member of Henry Memorial Presbyterian Church.

The dedicatory service was held in the newly completed sanctuary on November 18, 1956. Rev. Charles Gibbony of Augusta gave the address and presented the congregation with a pulpit bible. Lucius Bacote, Luther Coleman, and Edwin Bates were elected as the first elders of the church. Hansel Baker, Roscoe Brower, Leroy Limeul, and Nathaniel Watson were chosen to serve on the first board of deacons. Lucius Bacote was chosen to serve as the first Clerk of the Session. Rev.Bridges Edwards resigned in 1961. For nearly a year, the church was supplied with a host of interim pastors, including Dr. U.S. Johnson, a leading Dublin physician and public servant, Judge C.C. Crockett, a long time Dublin attorney, along with Reverends Jerry Salter, Leon Anderson, and Daniel O. Honnegan. In May of 1962, Rev. Roosevelt Haynes was called to serve the church. He left after two years to return to school. During an eight month interim period, the church was served by seminary students from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. Rev. Joe L. Spears was called to serve the church in October 1964. Rev. Spears served until May 1969, when he resigned to begin a new project in Statenville, North Carolina. For nearly fifteen months, the pulpit was once again filled with seminary students. The Rev. John Albert Yates began serving as a visiting minister in the summer of 1970. He became the full time minister on September 1 of that year. Rev. Chester Johnston became the fifth minister of Washington Street Church in 1975. Rev. Johnston had a dual role in his ministering to the community. In addition to his duties at the church, Rev. Johnson served as a chaplain at the Carl Vinson V.A. Medical Center. He was succeeded by Rev. W.H. Wilson, who served as an interim pastor for two years. In 1984, Rev. Johnnie Bennett, who holds the record as the longest serving minister of the church (1984-1993), became the church's seventh pastor. It was during Rev. Bennett's term, that a Christian library was established. The library was initially composed of books donated by members and books from the personal library of Rev. Glenn Dorris, whose guidance and direction was so critical to the formation of the church nearly four decades earlier. Roscoe Brower and Shellie Stroman drove hundreds of miles to pick up the volumes and bring them back to their permanent home in Dublin. Rev. Eugene Allen, who served as a senior chaplain at the VA Medical Center, succeeded Rev. Bennett. The present and first woman pastor of the church is the Rev. A. Vanessa Hawkins.

The church has always been blessed by a host of dedicated servants, many of whom served as educators in the Dublin public school system. Among those people, not previously mentioned herein, are: Nathaniel Watson, Issac H. McLendon, Ethel Beard, Pearl Cullens, Irving Dawson, Sr., Roscoe Brower, Columbus Jackson, E.J. Jones, Edward Copenny, Alton Roberts, Shellie Stroman, William Walthour, and Bonnie Crawley. Additionally, the Women's organization, the essential element of any successful church, has been led by Mrs. Nellie Coleman, Mrs. Columbus Jackson, Mrs. John Green, Marine C. Bacote, Mrs. Charles Manning, Mrs. Nathaniel Jackson, Mrs. Willie O. Beard, Mrs. Edward Copenny, Mrs. Pearl Cullens, Mrs. Lois Stroman, and Mrs. Bonnese Thomas Brower McLain, among others.

The founding of Washington Street Presbyterian Church was uniquely special in the post World War II South of the 1950s. While the evil storms of hate and racial prejudice swirled all over the nation, the people of two races and one faith came together and, along with the help of many others, established a church founded on the principles of Christian faith and service. These principles were espoused not just within the walls of the church, but throughout the community. It was this dedication, especially among the inordinate number of members who were school teachers, that led our community through the perilous times of the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Their efforts have left a positive and indelible mark on the people of Dublin, one which will continue to last for decades to come. Congratulations to the present and former members of Washington Street Presbyterian Church for fifty years of ceaseless dedication to our community.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

JIMMY RICKS
























Jimmy Ricks (lower right) and the Ravens



THE GRANDFATHER OF DOO WOP


His voice was considered one of the most influential in the history of rhythm and blues. There was no one who could sing any lower and as well as Jimmy "Ricky" Ricks. As a member of the vocal group, the Ravens, Jimmy Ricks's lead vocals set the standard for doo-wop and rhythm and blues groups that followed him.

Jimmy Ricks was born in Adrian, Georgia in 1924. When he was a small child, Jimmy's family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where Jimmy remained until World War II, when he removed to New York to seek a career in the music business. Ricks had a unique bass voice, one which would catapult him to stardom in the blossoming rhythm and blues field. In 1945, while working as a waiter in the Four Hundred Tavern in Harlem, Ricks joined the Melodeers, a group led by Herb Kenny, whose brother Bill was the lead singer of the legendary Ink Spots. The group disbanded when Herb joined the Ink Spots as their "talking bass singer." While working at the Four Hundred, Ricks formed a friendship with Warren Suttles. The duo began singing along with jukebox records. They decided to form a group and invited Zeke Puzey, an amateur champion singer, and Ollie Jones. They called themselves the Ravens. They hired as their manager, Ben Bart, who also managed the Ink Spots.

 
The Ravens began their musical career in the summer of 1946 when they recorded six songs for Hub Records. Their first gig was at the Baby Grand in Harlem. The audiences loved the new sound of the Ravens, with Ricks on the bass lead. While record sales were slow at first, the Ravens's tunes were popular with the juke box crowd. Their first big break came with an appearance on Arthur Godfrey's radio show. Their next big performance came before Christmas 1946 with an appearance at the Apollo Theater following Nat King Cole. The audience went wild. The new stars were invited for a return engagement.

The Ravens re-recorded their first songs with Maithe Marshall, who replaced Jones, as the lead tenor. Listeners of a New York radio station voted the Ravens as the "Best New Singing Group of 1946." The Ravens signed a contract with National Records and began performing with Cab Calloway at the Strand on Broadway. In the spring of '47, the Ravens began their National recording sessions with one of their biggest hits "Ol' Man River, " the classic song of Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern. It rose to number 10 on the R&B charts. Their next hit was "Write Me A Letter," which went to number 5 on the R&B charts and number 24 on the pop charts. The Ravens continued to release cover songs of classics such as "Summertime," by George Gershwin. The Ravens were climbing to the top of the charts. In an effort to cash in on their new popularity and the flying saucer fad sweeping the country, the group reportedly staged a publicity stunt by flinging copies of "Ol' Man River" off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River.

 
The Ravens went back to the studio in the fall of 1947, recording nearly twenty new songs, including some of their greatest hits, "Be I Bumble Bee Or Not," "Always," and "Fool That I Am." Included in the 1947 sessions was a tune called "Rooster," a very humorous minstrel show style take off on a farmer and his rooster, which he threatens to make into dumplin's if he doesn't win the prize at the county fair. The Ravens continued to turn out one record after another in 1948, before going out on a tour of the South. The highlight of the year was a one week engagement at the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles and two weeks at the Bali Theater in Washington, D.C. As the Ravens became more successful, they incorporated their group and began to invest in other business ventures including owning a prize fighter and a turkey farm, which they named, "Ravenswood." Although the Ravens were enjoying success in 1948, two of the main members, Warren Suttles and Maithe Marshall left the group. Maithe returned in time to record "Silent Night" and "White Christmas," which rose to number 8 and number 9 on the R&B charts.




Jimmy Ricks



Jimmy Ricks (Upper Left) and the Ravens



Suttles returned in early 1949 just before the Ravens made their national television debut on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town." Sullivan presented the group with the "Top Vocal Group of 1948," given by the readers of "Cashbox" magazine. The Ravens had enjoyed their most successful year in 1948, breaking records at the Apollo Theater in New York and the Paradise Theater in Detroit. They won six popularity polls and continued their string of cover hits of classic tunes, such as "Deep Purple," "Tea For Two," and "Without a Song." Jimmy, known as "Ricky" to his friends, wrote and sung, "Ricky's Blues," which peaked at number 8 on the charts. The Ravens ended the Forties with their last chart hit, "I Don't Have to Ride Anymore," which also rose to number 8 on the R&B charts. The lyrics told of a man not being thrown out of the house because he had won the numbers game with "6-9-4." It has been said that while the Ravens were performing in Atlanta, local bookies refused to accept the three now famous numbers.

 
Despite their songs were not making the charts, the Ravens still enjoyed a vast popularity with their fans. In the winter of 1950, the Ravens performed with such greats as Dinah Washington and Artie Shaw. Warren Suttles left the group and was replaced by Louis Heyward. The group had their last recording session with National Records in the summer of 1950, before going over to the Columbia label, when Jimmy Ricks joined the Benny Goodman Sextet in performing, "Oh, Babe," and "You're Gonna Lose Your Girl," the former rising to number 25 on the pop charts. Ricks performed the song, "Oh Babe," with Goodman on his television show on the Dumont Network. With Jimmy's success with Goodman, the Raven's producers decided to use swing musicians to back the group.

The year 1951 was another successful one for the Ravens as they continued to churn out one song after another for Columbia. They received thousands of dollars a night to perform. Louis Heyward and Maithe Marshall returned to the group, but not for long. The main group broke up and the new Ravens signed with Mercury Records, with Jimmy Ricks as the sole surviving member. The new group continued the old group's success by recording cover versions of classic American songs, such as Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" and Hank Williams's "Hey Good Lookin!"

 
The new group suddenly became the old group in late 1952. Warren Suttles and Zeke Puzey, the original co-founders, returned. In Pittsburgh, the Ravens were as popular as ever, garnering the 1953 poll as the best vocal quartet. Once again the Ravens were one of the most popular recording acts in the country. The last Ravens original record with Mercury was fittingly a 1954 cover version of Cole Porter's classic, "I've Got You Under My Skin." 1955 was Jimmy Ricks's last year with the Ravens. On his final record with the Ravens, Ricks sang the lead on "Boots and Saddles/I'll Always Be In Love With You," which was released in February of 1956. While the Ravens continued to perform for more than a decade, Ricks embarked on a less successful solo career releasing two dozen solo 45s.

 
Jimmy Ricks died on July 2, 1974, while he was attempting a comeback as a singer for the Count Basie Orchestra. The Ravens, who were inspired by the Ink Spots and who released nearly five dozen singles, were considered the first real rhythm and blues group. They were the first group to use dance steps in their act. Ricks's deep bass and Suttles booming baritone influenced a younger generation of doo-wop singers and the male soul groups of the late 60s and 70s. In 1998, the Ravens were inducted as initial members of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

SERGEANT PERCY RICKS



The Quiet Hero

Percy Ricks was born into a world which was black and white. Over the next eight decades, the line dividing the two faded into obscurity. In a society which segregated its schools, ball teams and soldiers, Sergeant Percy Ricks of Adrian, Georgia stepped over the line into the new integrated Army. Absent was the fanfare surrounding a fellow Georgian, Jackie Robinson, when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, just across the river. Percy Ricks died last month. Except for an obituary in the "Augusta Chronicle," his adopted home’s newspaper, the notice of his passing was quiet, much the way he led his life, quietly with honor and pride.

Percy Ricks was born in 1920 in the town of Adrian, Georgia centered on the line dividing Johnson and Emanuel counties. He attended the public schools of Adrian, where he graduated as valedictorian of his class. Percy wanted to go into business. His dream was to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta. In the months preceding World War II, Percy tried to beat the draft and sought to volunteer into the service in the United States Army in preparation for the war, which everyone knew was coming. Ricks and his friends were turned away at the recruiting center in Macon. Ricks came back to Adrian for a short time before he was drafted into the Army.

He trained at Fort Francis E. Warren in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Camp Hogan, California, before transferring to San Bernadino, California, where he was assigned to a communications unit. Army officials quickly saw Percy’s leadership qualities and promoted him first to corporal and then to sergeant. In 1942, Ricks was once again transferred, this time to Fort Lewis, Washington and then to Camp White, Oregon. Sergeant Ricks was given the task of locating and establishing an entertainment center for black soldiers at Camp White. It was during this time, when he gained experience working with white officials of the camp’s military police and the local police in Medford. Ricks wasn’t just a desk jockey. He set a camp record on the obstacle course.

In August of 1942, Ricks was promoted to first sergeant and given command of training two companies at Camp Carson, Colorado. One of his duties was the transportation of Japanese-Americans, who were being relocated into interment camps. In April of 1943, Ricks’s unit boarded a ship bound for Oman in North Africa. Ricks, who was one of the youngest black first sergeants in the history of the Army, and his fellow soldiers as members of "The Red Ball Express" hauled bombs and supplies to elements of the 8th Army Air Corps, which was conducting bombing runs into Italy. While black soldiers were kept out of combat, Ricks and his fellow drivers were often subject to enemy fire. Once the Allies established a foothold in southern Italy, Ricks’s unit was right behind. Ricks made it to Caglieri on the Island of Sardinia. While serving in Sardinia, Ricks’s company supported the 5th and 8th Army Air Forces missions, which eventually bombed the Third Reich into submission.

In the months following the Allied victory in Europe, Sergeant Ricks returned stateside for discharge. While coming back home, Percy talked with another sergeant, who encouraged him to find the best job he could once he got out of the service. He was given an honorable discharge in Norfolk, Virginia and immediately headed home for Georgia. Ricks didn’t stay in Georgia very long. He traveled to Fort McPherson in Atlanta, where he reenlisted for a three-year term in the Signal Corps.

First Sergeant Ricks was assigned to a Signal Corps unit in New Jersey. In 1946, Percy was ordered to lead a unit in the Army Pictorial Center in Long Island, New York in an old silent movie studio. It would the first time that a black soldier would be given official command on an integrated army unit. "They sent me there to integrate the unit. At the time, I didn’t know what to do," said Ricks to Chairman Brackett, a writer for the "Augusta Chronicle." Ricks enjoyed his time in the military, though there were some tenseness in his early days, before President Harry S. Truman, ended segregation in the armed forces forever in 1948.

It was in New York, where Percy met and fell in love with his wife, Mildred, a southern transplant from McCormick, South Carolina. Mildred Ricks described her husband as "a gentle and loving man, who knows how to get along with people." While working in the Pictorial Center in New York, Sergeant Ricks established a friendship with a budding writer, Larry King, not the television personality, but the author of "Confessions of a White Racist" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." King, in his book on racism in America, described his friend Percy as "a man who carried himself with careful dignity."

In his latter years, Sergeant Ricks was finally given the attention that he so richly served, but didn’t understand what "all the fuss was about." Playing down his service as the first commander of a racially mixed army unit, he was nevertheless an American hero. During his service in the army, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the United National Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Service European Medal, and the American Service Medal.



In recognition of his valuable service to the Signal Corps of the United States Army, the army established the "First Sergeant Percy Ricks Room" at Fort Gordon, near Augusta, Georgia. The room contains personal papers and belongings of Sergeant Ricks, including his uniform and a 1946 Oscar statuette presented to the Signal Corps for its film, "Seeds of Destiny."



Sergeant Percy D. Ricks, Jr. died on July 14, 2002 at the Veterans Medical Center in Augusta after suffering for months with the ravaging symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. He was laid to rest in Memorial Gardens in Augusta.

Sources: "Ricks Paved Way for Corps’ African-Americans," Sgt. Anastasia Norman, "Army Communicator," Fort Gordon, Georgia; "The Augusta Chronicle," July 19, 2002; "Ricks Led Unit With Diversity," Charmain Z. Brackett, "The Augusta Chronicle," Oct. 21, 2001; "Fort Gordon Honors Silent Hero," Denise Allen, "The Signal," Feb. 1, 2002.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

BISHOP LUCIUS HOLSEY



Coming Out of the Dark

In the year 1909, leaders of the Georgia C.M.E. Church and local ministers, including Rev. P.W. Wesley of Lovett, Georgia, and lay leaders of the Church established the Harriett Holsey Industrial Institute in Dublin. The school was named for Harriett Holsey, wife of Bishop Lucius H. Holsey, one of the founders of the school. This is the story of Bishop Lucius Holsey, who in conjunction with such Methodist ministerial icons including the Rev. Henry M. Turner, led their people out of the depths of despair of the abolition of slavery and the horrors of the post war South into the bright new days of the Twentieth Century.


Lucius Henry Holsey was born into slavery on a farm near Columbus, Georgia on July 3, 1842. His owner, James Holsey, was also his father, whom Rev. Holsey described as " a gentleman of classical education, dignified in appearance, and lacking the ability to shine his own shoes or saddle his horse." His mother, Louisa, was the mother of fourteen children, Lucius, being the oldest. Holsey was sold to T.L. Wynn of Sparta following his father’s death in 1848. After Wynn’s death, Lucius became the property of Col. R.M. Johnston, with whom the young man had a close relationship. In his eight years with Col. Johnston, who was a professor at the University of Georgia, Lucius was introduced to education and religion, both of which had a profound influence on his life. He was impressed with the sermons of Rev. H.M. Turner, who became one of the greatest African-American ministers in our country’s history. In his later years, Bishop Holsey saw slavery as "a blessing in disguise to me and to many - a link in the transactions of humanity, which must have a great bearing on the future."


Holsey took up sharecropping on a "one-horse farm" in Hancock County after his emancipation. His wife Harriett washed clothes for the students, who lived in Col. Johnston’s boarding house. Then, the calling came. It was always there since his youth, but Lucius felt the urgent need to proclaim God’s truth. It was February 1868. Bishop George F. Pierce, a historian and sage of Methodism in 19th Century Georgia, examined Lucius with difficult questioning and pronounced him ready to become a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church South - whites and blacks were members of the same church then. Holsey already knew Bishop Pierce, who had reared his wife Harriett before giving her to his son-in-law, a Mr. Turner. The couple were married in the Bishop’s home on November 8, 1862. Bishop Pierce’s wife and daughters spared no expense in elaborately decorating their home and lavishly preparing a splendid meal for the Holseys and a host of their friends and relatives.


Holsey, who considered himself an inferior preacher because of his low decibel voice, traveled the Sparta Circuit until 1869, when the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church of Georgia held its first conference in Augusta. Bishop Pierce assigned Rev. Holsey to his first church, Andrew Chapel, in Savannah. Holsey was forced to leave the church when the A.M.E. Church took control of Andrew Chapel. The trustees of Trinity Methodist Church allowed him to preach to the colored Methodist citizens of Savannah in the church library. The wealth of Savannah allowed Holsey to start reading again, learning about anything he could. After sixteen months, Holsey returned to Sparta to attempt to find his direction in life. He found it.


In 1871, Rev. Holsey was appointed to Trinity Methodist Church in Augusta, the largest church in the conference. In the 1873 General Conference of the C.M.E. Church held in Holsey’s home church, the delegates elected Rev. Holsey one of the three Bishops of the Church. Holsey drew the area of Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Despite his annual salary of eight hundred dollars, Holsey and his family of fourteen struggled just to survive, recycling cinders to build fires with and going hungry many nights.


In 1869, Bishop Holsey first advocated the establishment of a school for training ministers for the Church. For nearly fourteen years, Holsey lobbied church leaders in Georgia and around the Southeast for their support of his plan. In 1883, The Paine Institute, now Paine College, was established in Augusta with the help of Holsey’s old friend, Bishop Pierce. Bishop Holsey continued to actively support the school for the remainder of his life.


Bishop Holsey was often called upon to represent Georgia in national conferences. He served for more than twenty years as Secretary of the College of Bishops. Holsey compiled the first hymnals and manual of discipline for the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1881, he represented the C.M.E. churches of the United States in an Ecumenical Conference in London, England, where he preached from the same pulpit where John Wesley, the founder of Methodism in America, once preached. In 1882, Bishop Holsey was the first African-American to attend the Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held that year in Memphis, Tennessee. He wrote a paper for the Centennial Conference of the Methodist Church in America in 1884. In 1891, he attended the same conference in Washington, D.C..


Holsey found himself embroiled in a controversy on the direction of the church for the last several decades of his life. As for politics, he thought ministers ought to stay out saying, "We must make no stump speeches and fight no battle of the politicians. We think it better to let the dead bury the dead, while we follow Christ," Holsey proclaimed. Despite his disdain for politics, Holsey found himself drawn into a battle with other church leaders. Being somewhat of a conservative and being the son of a white man, Holsey urged cooperation with the white Church - a position not taken by Bishop Henry Turner of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Bishop Lucius Henry Holsey died in 1920. In reflecting on his first thirty years in the Church, Holsey said " The Colored Methodist Church in America has a remarkable career....Green from the fields of slavery, raw in the experiences of church tactics, in membership and ministry, without houses of worship or literature, with many of its organizing feats being performed out of doors and under trees, it overcame difficulties that made it more than an experiment. Being in the dews of its youth, it has not yet attained its destined dignity and power for those among the colored race. But it is advancing in every department. During his fifty years in the ministry, he led his people through the bad times and the good times. His life and his teachings, without a doubt, rank him high as one of the most important and influential Christian leaders in Georgia history.