Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Stolen girls


Published on

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

Published in: Education
  • Login to see the comments

Stolen girls

  1. 1. special reportHA..^
  2. 2. of protest marches in the summer of 1963, almost three zen girls from Americus, Georgia, were held for weeks in an abandoned Civil War-a stockade. Never formally charged, the girls banded together in horrificrcumstances, even as their frantic families searched for them. Now their story courage, faith and resilience is finally being told BY DONNA M.OWENS ! he Georgia sun was unrelenting that July day in 1963. It caiised sweat to trickle down the backs of young brown girls wearing pretty homemade cotton dresses, starched blouses and capri pants. Moisture formed at the napes of ebony boys- with neatly cropped hair, dampening their crisp, short-slee^ shirts. But for some 200 N^iro children and adults singir>g "We Shall Overcome" as they marched down Cotton Avenue iii the smalt southern town of Americus, Georgia, the heat was the least of their concerns. In this onetime cotton center founded in the 183Os, Blacks made up about half of the 13,000 resi- dents, but they were treated as second-class citizens under the same Jim Crow policies that ruled the South. Americus, with its mix of antebellum cottages, tin-roof shanties, pecan orchards and railroad tracks, had a name that suggested democracy, but racism was as fertile here as the rich, red Georgia soil. Colored and Whites Only signs prolifer- ated, and segregated lunch counters, schools, restrooms and. water fountains were a way of life. { "If you think of Mississippi first and Alabama second, then Georgia was third in terms of discrimination," says > j SNCC smu^led photographer DANNY LYON into the stockade grounds in 1963 to capture this haunting portrait of the jailed girls of Americus. to-of w»
  3. 3. special reportfulian Bond, then a 23-year-oId leader of the Student Nonvio- "Blood was pouring down my face"lent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and now chairman of Near rhe edge oJ downiown, the demonstrators found them-the NAACP. "in those days Black people had no rights that selves facing a large While mob that included law-enforcementWhiles felt bound to obey. You expected every outrage, and the officers, known Ku Klux Klan members and self-deputizedworst that could happen, would happen." citizens who had apparently heard about the protests from an Indeed, at high noon on thai hot ]uly day, the worst was be- informant. No one doubted thai the snarling police dogs, high-ginning to unfold in downtown Americus. "The plan was for half powered fire hoses, billy clubs and electric cattle prods carriedof the demonslrators to head to the segregated Martin Theater, by some in the angry moh would be used. But the marcherswhile the rest were to veer right toward the White waiting r(X)m knew they would not fight back. They had taken an oath of non-of the Trailways bus station," recalls James A. Westbrooks, then a violence that included no hitting or cursing, not speaking or19-year-old college .student and a field secretary for SNCC, which laughing, never blocking entrances to stores and aisles, andhad joined with the NAACP to organize the demonstralion. being courteous al all time.s. So when the shciiff ordered I Bin 13 yaars old and was In I««9burg Btockadt fK» Auruat 31 to Septenber 8. Tliar* woro 3^ ltlds in Uiera irlLh ma. TViaro uero no beds, no m Ltrsssos, no blankata, pillows, no sfiaata. The fl,)or w»s cold. lou lay dam for whilo and soon It s,.:rts hu^-tlia you so yoj alt ui for ttrfill* ind It stirta hurtlns 90 you hava to USUL arouni:! for a Nhll«. Tha hsnbur^wa w«ra dry and wera not eookad wall bacauaa whan you break your [Mat opm you can aaa a lot of red aeat lnsida, Dia S M U of th« wMta matarial ms bad. I want to Uie bsthroai t^a^a to urlnaU, but didnt have a bowel movanent Utriiig tha <ntir« nine days 1 was t^are, I urlAated Mhare tAs water fron t ^ QI-MOT dralna down. Sone of tha glrla us^d • placa of cardboard that can* fron U« box«a, tha cardboard boicas, that tha hamburgon ware brought ir.. Hia water vaa hot and i t was rumiflg a l l tha Mhlla, <^J nan s*** ua Ihraa cupa for tho 32 of us. TYitn »ts a a^an^ but I t wasnt claan Mough for you to batfie In. Jardboard with wast« nutarlal had been put Ui»r* and i t naadad cl«a.iii^ and acrubbing. At night tha nosquitwas Bid ro^chas ware at UB. In tha middla of th« uaakAbove: The girls were forced to sleep on the concrete floor. Right: tha whit* Min gavfl ua saw blankets. They war* tha onea wlich had bMD bumed.After their release, some of them wrote statements to document Re put t)-aN out in ttja aua Htd than gav* HIM back to ua. Two v UirM of imwhat theyd been through. altpt tn ona bl^nkat. bafor* • • Uila Uth daj of Sapiwbar, 1963, Loli Bamnw HoUey ^^^ •aarletta FULlar In Americus, as in other parts of the South, youngpeople, fired up by meetings at local Black churches, had Votary PubUc, Oa. SUta at large Kanrlatu Puller My camlaoicci w n i n a 8 ^become faithful foot soldiers of the movement. They hadalready taken part in sit-ins, protests and picketing at thesegregated public library and the local courthouse, andvoier registration drives were plentiful. "We were marching at them to disperse, the demonstrators dropped to their kneesleast once a week and every weekend." remembers Emmarene and began to pray.Kaigler Streeler. who turned 14 that year. "A lol of us were snealc- "I didnt have sense enough to be afraid." says Piane Dorseying out of the house and doing it againsi our parents wishes." Bowens, who had just turned 13 and was marching for the first But just as the dream of dignity and equality emboldened some time. More than anything, she wanted to see places like theBlacks, their challenge to the status quo angered and threatened local Watgreens desegregated. "Youd go in for a prescription,many Whites in Americus. including some of those charged with and there was a soda fountain but you werent allowed toprotecting them. Police Chief Ross Chambliss and the tobacco- drink." recalls Bowens. "Whites there would laugh and makechewing sheriff. Fred Chappell. were as infamous in these parts fun of you and call you nigger/ When the movement came. 1us Bull Connor was in Birmingham. Alabama. Chappell, who some couldnt wail to be part of it."local folk described as heavy-jowled and prone to calling Blacks But as resolved as she and the other protestors were io"nigger," had even left an impression on Dr. Martin Luther King. remain nonviolent, nothing could have prepared Ihem for theJr., back in 1961. After his arrest in nearby Albany, Dr. King had mayhem thai ensued. As the crowd swarmed Ihe marchers, I.ul.ubeen transferred and briefly held in the Sumter County jail in Westbrooks Griffin, then 13. felt herself being swept from the side-Americus. Afterward he is reported to have said that Fred walk into the street bya stinging blast of water, her shoes knockedClhappell was "the meanest man in the world." This was the man off her feel. As she struggled to get up, a policeman attacked herwaiting to meet the marchers in Americus in 1963. with his club. "He was on me, beating me over the head." lul.u
  4. 4. Above: LuLu Westbrooks Griffin stands at the door of the stockade 43years later. Right: Gloria Breedlove and Carol Barner Seay inside thestockade, which is now a public works facility.would recall 43 years later. "Blood was pouring down my face." Her older brother James, the SNCC worker who hadhelped recruit and train the young marchers, watched in be taken out one by one and killed," recalls Barbara Jean Daniels.horror hut was in no position to help. Pinned to the ground by She was 14 years old.police, one boot on his neck, another on his back, he could donothing as his little sister LuLu, his 13-year-oId niece, Gloria "He swung the shovel at me"Breedlove, and dozens of other children were arrested and The Leesburg Stockade, a low-slung white structure wiih steelthrown into police wagons. doors, looked as if it hadnt been cleaned in decades. The barred Eunice Lee Butts, now 95. remembers that her son James windows all had jagged, broken glass and no screens, the floorscame running home that afternoon, screaming that his 12-year- were filthy, and a single bare lightbulb hung from the ceiling.old sister "Bang" was in jail. Bang was the nickname of Bobbie In this narrow cell, roughly 12 feet by 40 feel, more than 30 girlsJean Butts Wise, one of Mrs. Buttss nine children, "I was scared were squeezed into a space intended to accommodate far fewer.and sick with worry," she says, her voice clouding at the A squat, graying older man called Pops was assigned to guardmemory, "But I didnl even know where they had taken them. the girls; he was armed with a sholgun. Other White men passedThere was nothing 1 could do." through on no particular schedule—whether they were For weeks afterward, the marchers were shuffled from jail law-enforcement officials or not, the girls never knew. The onlyto jail in neighboring counties across the region, all overflow- other person Ihey saw regularly was the local dogcatcher,ing with demonstrators from the numerous civil rights protests Mr. Story, a tall, thin man with a nervous manner. He deliveredthat took place that summer. Boys and girls were sometimes meals. "The first two days we didnt get any food." recalls Shirleykept apart by chicken wi re in improvised holding pens, and older Ann Green Reese, who was 14. "Around the third day they startedteens were separated from yoxinger ones. Eventually about three bringing us hamburgers that were almost raw."dozen adolescent girls from various facilities were transported Several of the girls began throwing up or suffering fromsome 20 miles from Americus to the Leesburg Stockade, a Civil diarrhea. The only toilet was a broken commode in Ihe cornerWar era prison in Lee County. The youngest girl was about 10, that couldnt be flushed. It was soon clogged to the top, Withthe oldest about 16. For nearly seven weeks, many would be held no other options to relieve themselves, the j^irls took to squat-in that bleak place with little family contact and no sense of ting over the shower drain, which quickly developed awhen or whether theyd ever be let go. "They told us that wed suffocating stench. To wipe themselves they used the paper > ESSENCE 165 6.2006
  5. 5. special reportcartons from the burger deliveries. When their menstrual someone was down or crying, we would all gather round andcycles came, they tore strips off their dresses and fashioned hold her." Everyone had lost weight, and LuLu desperately neededthem into napkins. Bathing wasnt an option. There was a medical treatment for her festering head wound. The other girlsshowerhead, but its slow perpetual drip proved useless, though suffered from a range of ills: ear infections, boils and high fevers.the girls could get a sip of warm water by standing under it Some had lice in their hair, and one girl. 15-year-old Verna Hollis.with cupped hands. One of the guards later gave them a few learned she was pregnant while inside the stockade. "Everyonetin cups to share. else was getting their period, and mine never came," she says Rickety bunks with thin, soiled mattresses stood in a cor- softly. "I was throwing up all the time. I was just miserable."ner of the cell, but nobody dared sleep on them. Instead, thegirls huddled on the concrete floor with no pillows and some Six of the women who were imprisoned together in the summer of 1963stained army blankets full of cigarette burns. They didnt sleep stroll toward the grounds of the Leesburg Stockade last January.much. Their backs ached; the mosquitoes, ticks and roacheswere merciless; and the heat was stifling. As the days and then weeks crawled by, the girls would taketurns at the window, hoping for an occasional whiff of fresh air."Once 1 was looking out through the hars, and I asked Popssomething. When he didnt respond, I called him a bastard."recalls Willie Mae Smith Davis, whom everyone called Mae Mae.She was 15 years old. "He swung a shovel at me. and it narrowlymissed my hands," Some guards poked the girls with sticks and called them"pick-a-ninnies." "jungle bunnies" and "nigger." They told themDr. King had gone tci iail. "Whos going to be your,savior now?" "One day a guard tossed a snake into the cell, sending the girls screaming into a corner. The reptileThe girls took turns at the window to escape the heat and stench In the cell. remained there all night."they taunted. One day one of the guards tossed a huge snakeinto the cell, sending the girls screaming into a corner. The "We werent afraid of death"reptile remained there all night, hissing noisily. The next Several weeks into their captivity, the girls plotted an escape.morning it was captured after the girls begged one of the other Biilie Jo Thornton Allen, 14 at the time, recalls that the plan wasmen to remove it, for them to call out to Pops so hed open the door, then theyd Laura Ruff, who was 15, recalls the nlghl that two truckloads push past him and make a run for it. Chased by blasts from theof While boys came riding up. "We knew theyd been drink- old mans rifle, they made it across an open field to the because we could see the bottles in their hands," she says. But after stumbling through the heavily wooded area for some"They started yelling to Pops. Let us in there. We wanna have time, they began to realize theyd never be able to find Iheir waya little fun!" Pops cocked his rifle and told them to get the home. Dejected, they returned to the stocltade.hell out of there, but Sanders, now 58, still shudders at the There were other rebellions. The pile of mattresses in thethought of what might have happened had they somehow corner, which the girls had been forced to use as an impromptumanaged to get inside the stockade, lavatory, developed a horrible smell, recalls Roberliena Free- During those long, slow weeks of captivity, the girls did what man Fletcher, who was 14. One day, in protest, the girts set thethey could to keep going, "We prayed all the time, and we sang pile on fire with some matches they found on the floor.freedom songs." says Annie Lue Ragans Laster. one of several girls Back in Americus. frantic family members and SNCC work-who had been sent to the stockade from later protests, "When ers were making the rounds of jails trying to discover the > ESSENCE 186 6.2006
  6. 6. "Some families were charged a fee of $2 for each day their daughters spent in prison." says Bond. "We then mailed them to Black newspa- pers all over the country." One image appeared in a September 1963 issue of Jet magazine, along with an article, "CA Marchers Kept in Filthy, Slench-Some of the women gathered last January on a bridge in Americus, Georgia. From left: Filled Jail." Bond and others say that Lyons pholosAnnie Lou Ragans Laster, Carol Barner Seay. Gloria Breedlove, Emmarene KaiglerStreeter. LuLu Westbrooks Griffin, Sandra Russell Mansfield, Diane Dorsey Bowens. also came to the attention of a U.S. senator, Harri- son A. Williams. Jr., who later entered them into thewhereabouts of the children. Word finally filtered to some of Congressional Record. In her self-published book, Freedom Isthe girls families that they were being held in the Leesburg Not Free (Heirloom Publishing). LuLu Westbrooks Griffin spec-Stockade. The few parents who had transportation drove out ulates that the pictures were eventually passed on to Attorneywith food and provisions, holding fast to the hope of taking General Bobby Kennedy. While no one has been able to verifytheir daughters home. A handful did succeed in securing their a paper trail, it seems clear that after the [CONTINUED ON P G 218] AEdaughters release, but they were mostly the towns more in-fluential Negro citizens, including the principal of the Blackjunior high school and the local funeral director. Most otherparents werent even allowed to see their girls. DELAYED JUSTICE in recent years some After more than a month, help finally arrived in the form cases involving civil rights-era crimes haveof a 21 -year-old SNCC photographer named Danny Lyon, a Jew-ish New Yorker living in Atlanta. The organization had senl been reopened by the Justice Departmenthim lo take photos of the girls as evidence of the fact that the THE CASE: The 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church inwere being held illegally. Smuggled to the stockade grounds Birmingham, Alabama, killed four Black girls; Addie Mae Collins, 14;by a Black teen driving Lyons Volkswagen, the photographer Cynthia Wesley, 14; Carole Robertson, 14; and Denise McNair, 1 1 .lay on the floor behind the front seat. While the young driver THE RESULT: One defendant was convicted in 1977. In 1997 the FBIdistracted Pops, Lyon crawled out of the car and around to the reopened the case, prompted by pressure from the community. An in-back, where he saw the girls through tbe windows. vestigation led to a second conviction in 2 0 0 1 and a third in 2002. A "They clustered around the window, holding hands through fourth alleged participant died in 1994, and therefore was never tried.Ihe broken glass and bars and saying freedom," remembers THE CASE: Ben Chester White, 6 7 , a Black sharecropper, was drivenLyon, who later recounted the experience in his book Memo- into a national forest and murdered in 1966 by Ernest Avants, whories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement (University of North was reported to be a Mississippi Ku Klux Klan member.Carolina Press). "They were beautiful." Lyon knew he didnt THE RESULT: White was murdered on federal land, so the five-yearhave much time, so he explained to the girls the sort of pic- statute of limitations didnt apply. In 2 0 0 3 , at the instigation of civiltures he needed to make. They understood at once, "They all rights groups, Avants, 7 2 , was convicted in Jackson, Mississippi.went and lay down and pretended they were asleep," says Lyon. THE CASE: Emmett Till, 14, was abducted in August 1955 after al-His hands trembled and his heart pounded as he snapped legedly whistling at a White woman in Money, Mississippi. His mu-photo after photo of the giris in the squalid cell. He documented tilated body was found in the Tallahatchie River several days later.the overrun toilet, the rusty showerhead, the girls in torn cloth- THE RESULT: In 1 9 5 5 two White men were acquitted by an all-ing on the filthy floor. Then, while the teen whod smuggled White jury. In 2 0 0 4 the FBI reopened the case, in part because ofhim in continued to engage Pops. Lyon hurried back to the car. new information uncovered by documentary filmmakers. This yearshaken by his close-up view of southern "justice." the case was turned over to the states attomey in Mississippi. At When he returned to SNCCs Atlanta headquarters with the press time no c h a f e s had been filed. —, workers rushed to publicize the girls plight. "Thepictures first appeared in our newspaper, The Student Voice,"
  7. 7. STOLEN GIRLSCONTINUro FROM PAGF i b6pictures arrived in Washington, D.C, someone important, premiered in Americus at the Rytander Theatre in July 2003,perhaps President John F. Kennedy himself, orchestrated the the fortieth anniversary of the girls imprisonment. Filmmak-girls release. ers Richard J, McCollough and Travis W. Lewis of Mirus Vide<i All the girls know for sure is that in the first week of Septem- Productions in Rochester, New York, spent hours and their ownber 1963, just after school opened, they were herded into a police money documenting the incident. "Its one of those untold civilwagon and transported back lo Americus. Theyd had some inkling rights stories that everyone needs to know about," says McCol-I hat they were soon to be released: Fops had muttered it to them, lough, 49, a broadcast journalist who first met LuLu in 1999,and the dogcatcher, Mr. Story, hrought scraps of news from the after reading about her in their local newspaper. Completedgirls families as he delivered meats. On arriving back in Ameri- in 2003, the documentary has won several awards, includingcus. several of the girls were brought before officials at the local the prestigious Telly, which honors the best in cable, news andcourthouse. There they learned that some families had been video, in 2004, Yet the filmmakers believe that not enoughcharged $2 per day as a "boarding fee" for the time their children people have seen the fibn, "The story of what happened to thesespent in prison. But the parents, overjoyed to see their daughters women deserves national exposure," says Lewis.alive, focused only on getting them home safely. Carol Barner Seay, who was 13. remembers tbat she and hermother were told to appear before a magistrate who asked ifshe would promise to stay away from the protests and other"mess" in the future. Carol retorted angrily. "Mess, what mess?!"as her mother tried in vain to shush her. "We always knew thatmarching could mean jail or death," Seay, a minister, says now."But I was not afraid, and neither were the others. We were will-ing to do what we had to do to gain our freedom.""Its like Im drawn back here"On a crisp, clear day in January 2006, a caravan of cars zoomspast wide-open cotton fields, magnolia trees, marshland andpeanut stands in scenic southwest Georgia. Forty-three yearsafter their imprisonment, some of the women are returning tovisit the place where their innocence was stolen. Many of the Americus girls have moved away from theirhometown and are scattered all over the country. Some havebecome educators, business owners, nurses, real estate agents,urban planners, scientists and ministers; others have workedat factories and fast-food places, and some are retired. Most aremarried with adult children, some have grandchildren, and sev-eral have passed away. Though their lives have followed manydifferent trajectories, they all say they were forever marked bywhat they endured in the summer of 1963. The Leesburg Stockade along Highway 32 has been slightlyaltered over the years, and its name, etched into a wall of thestructure, has been obscured by a public-works sign, "A lot of LuLu (above, at 13) wore a flour sack after her dress was torn in the march.sad memories in this place." says Sandra Russell Mansfield, asmall, fragile-seeming woman who still lives in Americus, and Shari K. Thompson. 34. an adjunct professor in film and me-who begins weeping almost from the moment she steps out of dia arts at Temple University, couldnt agree more. She is work-her car. "1 drive down sometimes. Its like Im drawn back here. ing on her own documentary about the women. She becameEvery time I come, I leave a piece of myself," aware of them in the late nineties after Philadelphia attorney For some of the women, like Robertiena Freeman Fletcher. Calvin Taylor. Jr., who had met Gloria Breedlove, approachedthis is the first trip back. Others, like LuLu Westbrooks Griffin, Thompson to tell the story on film, Taylor thought the docu-now 57 and a resident of Springwater, New York, and Gloria mentary would help him build a legal case on behalf of theBreedlove. 57, of Philadelphia, have made regular pilgrimages women. Intrigued, Thompson traveled to Americus to see theto both Americus and Leesburg over the last decade, taking pic- stockade and meet the women, "This story has a spiritual con-tures and videotaping the site to preserve the history. nection for me," she reflects. "I havent been able to let it go." A documentary. LuLu and the Girls ofAmericus, Georgia 1963, Indeed, this too-little-known incident of the civil rights era ESSENCE 218 6.2006
  8. 8. haunts all who learn of it. Taylor, a specialist in litigation, says sissippi home; and that four little Black girls were killed in ahe cried the first time he discovered what had happened to Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing.the girls in that sweltering summer of 1963. "I think they de- But 1963 also had its triumphs. August 28 of that year, whileserve some type of reparation for this tragedy." says the attor- the girls shored up their courage by singing civil rights anthemsney, who now represents Gloria and several of the other women inside the stockade. Martin Luther King, Jr.. gave his indeliblehut has not yet filed a lawsuit. "These women suffered enor- "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington. D.C. Few among themously, and most Americans dont even know it happened." 250,000 gathered to hear him knew that hundreds of miles away in Georgia, another group of marchers was also serving the same"We took a Stand for justice" cause. "We took a stand for justice and dignity, and Im proud Roaming the grounds of the stockade on a crisp blue morning of what we accomplished, knocking down those ugly walls of last January, alternately crying and holding one another, the segregation," LuLu says, women reflect on the fact that, all these years later, many of As the daylight slants lower over the stockade, the women, them still have recurring nightmares. A few have sought coun- bound by shared experience, spontaneously come together in seling, but others have spent their entire adult lives burying a circle and bow their heads to pray. Afterward, as they break the incident, refusing to talk about their time in the stockade, apart, each one lost in her own separate memory, you know that even with their spouses and children. in the pantheon of fighters who struggled and sacrificed for free- Nor has their hometown come to terms with its cruel re- doms cause, the girls of Americus, Georgia, deserve their right- sponse during that summer of protests. While the population ful place in history, too. D of Americus has grown to 17.000 (39 percent White and 58 per- Donna M. Owens, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist, cent Black), and the town now houses internationally known lives in Baltimore. organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Americus has never officially addressed the stockade incident or other shameful episodes in its history. Many of the authorities involved, in- cluding sheriff Fred Chappell and police chief Ross Chambliss, THE GIRLS IN THE STOCKADE have died, and court records thai might document the girls im- I n the summer of 1963. at least 33 girls from different protest prisonment have proven impossible to locate. marches were held at the Leesburg Stockade. Most of The women feel that an apology, and some form of legal re- them had participated in the violent Americus march that dress, is appropriate given what they suffered. Officials at the was intended to desegregate the local movie theater and U.S. Department of Justice, the federal agency charged with pur- bus station. The following are among those who were re- suing civil rights violations, told Taylor that the five-year statute portedly detained. They are listed by their childhood names of limitations has passed, but legal precedent exists for other avenues of pursuit. "If there is a strong community outcry about 1. Carol Bamer 18. Mary Frances Jacksonwhat happened." says attorney Jacqueline A. Berrien of the 2. Lorena Bamum 19. Vyrtis Jackson NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, "then legal re- 3. Pearl Brown (Deceased) 20. Dorothy Jonescourse can still occur." (See "Delayed justice" sidebar.] 4. Bobbie Jean Butts 21 Emma Jean Jones To raise awareness, several of the women have spoken pub- 5. Agnes Carter (Deceased) 22. Emmarene Kaigler licly about their experiences, and all would like to see a memo- 6. Pattie Jean Collier 23. Barbara Ann Peterson rial or museum erected at Leesburg to educate young people. 7. Mattie Crittenden 24. Annie Lue RagansGeorgia congressman Sanford Bishop, who represents the Sec- (Deceased) 25. Judith Reidond Congressional District, which includes Americus and Lees- 8. Barbara Jean Daniels 26. Laura Ruffburg. has said that a memorial "is in the realm of possibility." 9. Gloria Dean 27. Sandra RussellHe has already pushed through legislation to name the new U.S. 10. Carolyn DeLoatch 28. Willie Mae Smitticourthouse in nearby Albany for civil rights attorney C.B. King. 11. Diane Dorsey 29. BillieJoThomtonWith support from the Georgia legislature, he says, the women 12. Juanita Freeman 30. Gloria Breedtovemight be honored with their own memorial as well. "Its a very 13. Robertiena Freeman Westbrooksgripping story." he says, "one that needs to be preserved." 14. Henrietta Fuller 31. LuLu Westbrooks Would any of the women choose to rewrite their fateful his- 15. Shirley Ann Green 32. OzellarWhiteheadtory? Not one said she would. "The minute I became a freedom 16. VemaHollis (Deceased)rider." reflects Gloria. "I was choosing to abandon my jump rope 17. EvetteHose 33 Ganie Mae Williamsand be a soldier for freedom. That motivation superseded fear." Even so, the women are aware that many fellow soldiers Teresa Mansfield of Americus assisted in compiling this list.never lived to tell their story; that in the same year they werein jail, Medgar Evers was fatally shot in the back outside his Mis-
  9. 9. Copyright © Entertainment Weekly Inc., 2006. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be duplicatedor redisseminated without permission.