Americus Bibliography


Tuck, Stephen G. N. “Protest in Rural Georgia : SNCC's Southwest Georgia Project, 1962-1967.” Beyond Atlanta : The Struggle for Racial Equality in Georgia , 1940-1980. Athens : University of Georgia Press, 2001. 158-191.

Describes SNCC's involvement in Americus along with other Southwest Georgia cities and towns. SNCC's involvement in Americus dates back to 1963, when field workers arrived to initiate voter registration drives and build community relations. SNCC organizers in Americus faced a difficult task of challenging Americus Mayor T. Griffin Walker to demand equality for black citizens. This chapter also entails a brief look at Koinonia Farm and its involvement in the movement.

Westbrooks-Griffin, Lulu. Freedom is Not Free : 45 Days in Leesburg Stockade : A Civil Rights Story. Hamlin, NY: Heirloom, 1998.

Using a first-person narrative, Lulu Westbrooks-Griffin offers a rich family history to accompany her story and those of the other girls who were jailed in the Leesburg Stockade. This account offers numerous photographs and descriptions to narrate the journey to Leesburg and further efforts of Civil Rights activism.

Journal Articles:

K'Meyer, Tracy E. “Buliding the Beloved Community: Koinonia Farm and the Civil Rights Movement in Southwest Georgia .” X (1995): 23-47.

The story of Koinonia Farm begins in 1942. Two white ministers Clarence Jordan and Martin England began Koinonia as a social experiment to address the racial problems in and around Americus . Koinonia functioned as a spiritual home while also teaching local black farmers new agricultural techniques for economic self-sufficiency. Over the years, members of Koinonia collaborated with SNCC and CORE when the Civil Rights movement gained momentum and descended upon Americus . Throughout the 1960s, Koinonia Farm remained a refuge of Christian guidance, opening its doors to Civil Rights workers and volunteers who held numerous meetings at the facility.

Newspaper Articles:

United Press International

---. “ Americus Negroes March Despite Plea by Sanders.” Columbus Ledger 3 August 1965 : 1+. 

After a surge of demonstrations, Governor Sanders called for a cease to all protests in Americus . The governor believed an end to demonstrations would help to eliminate future acts of violence that were likely to erupt. Despite his pleading, citizens banded together to hold a series of demonstrations protesting the inequality running rampant through Americus . Governor Sanders believed that black citizens would have a better chance of remedying the situation through legal channels.

---. “ Americus Troubles Land in Court Here.” Macon News 30 July 1965 : 1.

As a result of recent demonstrations, Americus Mayor T. Griffin Walker asked local citizens to remain at home instead of joining local demonstrations. Local Sheriff Fred D. Chappell and other officials were being asked to show just cause for segregated voting procedures and the incarceration of four black women. Members of the Americus Civil Rights Movement were awaiting Judge Bootle’s ruling before resuming further demonstrations.

---. “Americus White Youth is Slain by Nightriders: Boy Gunned Down Near Courthouse.” Macon News 29 July 1965 : 1.

Along with the surge of demonstrations occurring in Americus , a white youth (Andrew Whatley) was slain by a passing car on Thursday, July 28th. While watching protestors demonstrate outside the city courthouse, Whatley was stuck by two bullets while standing among a group of friends. This particular incident was one of the first attacks against the white community in Americus .

Kuettner, Al. “100 Negroes March again at Americus .” Atlanta Constitution 29 July 1965 .

Members of the Civil Rights Movement in Americus staged a mile long march to the Americus courthouse to protest the release of four Americus women jailed for resisting discriminatory voting practices. The marchers were escorted by police as several members urged black citizens to boycott white businesses.

Associated Press

---. “Americus Faces Negro Invasion Unless Rights Demands are Met.” Macon News 27 July 1965 : 1.

The wave of protests and demonstrations continued in Americus as citizens voiced their concerns about equality. This article calls attention to a press conference held by Hosea Williams to address the continued need for demonstrations in Americus . Williams voiced demands to appoint a black voter registrar, reschedule special elections for justice of the peace in Americus , and police protection for all citizens. Local officials responded by selecting some members to serve on a biracial committee in Americus that would meet to remedy the inequalities facing black citizens in the town.

---. “Keep Outsiders Out of Americus , Sanders Urges.” Americus Recorder 2 August 1965 : 1.

In an attempt to suppress demonstrations in Americus , Governor Sanders called a press conference urging citizens to dismiss efforts of outside agitators. He believes outside influences create trouble in Americus and that it is only a matter of time before further violence breaks out.

---. “Sanders Says Protection in Americus is Adequate.” Americus Recorder 1965: 1+.

In addition to Americus police officers, Governor Sanders sent state troopers to help keep the peace in Americus . The troopers arrived Americus after a wave of demonstrations began in the town. While keeping the peace, state troopers often served as escorts for Civil Rights demonstrations. The unrest also granted troopers special provisions to arrest citizens who directly disobeyed the law.

---. “4 Arrested at Polls in Americus , Negro Woman Put in Jail.” The Atlanta Constitution 21 July 1965 : 1.

On July 20, 1965 , Mrs. Mary Kate Bell, Lena Turner, Mamie Campbell, and Gloria Wise decided to challenge the voting procedures in Americus , Georgia . These women were arrested for standing in the white women's voting line and held for ten days before be released under the order of Federal Judge W. A. Bootle. The women wanted to challenge the unequal voting practices held in Sumter County that denied many black citizens the opportunity to cast their ballots.

New York Times

Roberts, Gene. “ Americus Seizes 23 Rights Pickets.” New York Times 3 August 1965 : 16.

In an effort to bring attention to the segregation in Americus, the citizens staged demonstrations in front of the Kwik Check supermarket on August 2, 1965. The demonstrators were demanding that stores hire more black workers since a significant portion of their business comes from this population of the community. While challenging local laws twenty-three people were arrested and taken to jail on trespassing charges.

---. “Two Churches Bar Civil Rights Groups in Americus Drive.” New York Times 2 August 1965: 1.

On Sunday, August 1, 1965, two inter-racial groups attempted to worship at the First Baptist Church and the First Methodist Church located in Americus. The first group who attempted to worship at the First Baptist Church was turned away. A second group approached the First Methodist Church only to be met by a group of men barring their entrance. After holding a brief prayer, the group turned away. These efforts were made in an attempt to desegregate portions of Americus excluded to black citizens.

---. “U.S. Judge Frees Four in Americus.” New York Times 31 July 1965: 50.

Four black women (Mrs. Mary Kate Bell, Lena Turner, Mamie Campbell, and Gloria Wise) were released from the Sumter County Jail after the ruling of Federal Judge W. A. Bootle (Macon). The women were jailed for ten days for failing to comply with the segregated voting procedures in Americus, Georgia. In addition, this article briefly explores the John Birch Society, which was dedicated to Civil Rights resistance.

Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles:

“Biracial Group Conducts 'Unofficial' Meeting Here.” Americus Recorder 5 August 1965: 1+.

As a result of the demonstrations held in Americus, Civil Rights leaders called for a bi-racial committee to address the growing problems in the town. Americus Mayor T. Griffin Walker and City Council members initially refused to appoint a biracial committee so community members were left to organize themselves. The biracial committee formed unofficially to discuss the unrest in Americus and provide viable solutions for change.

“Communal Farm Founder, Author Speaks Sunday.” Red & Black 2 May 1968.

Describes the work and life of Clarence Jordan and the creation of Koinonia Farms, an interracial community. Jordan’s efforts helped to provide necessary economic, religious, and social support in the small community situated on the outskirts of Americus, GA. In later years, Jordan and Koinonia played an even greater role in helping to build housing and establish a community of support as the Civil Rights Movement waged on in the country.

Doss, George. “End Segregation at Polls, Judge Orders Sumter.” Macon News 30 July 1965: 1+.

After reviewing evidence, Judge Bootle of Macon ruled for an immediate desegregation of the Sumter county voting process. The judge cautioned Sumter officials to follow his ruling condemning segregation in Americus. The article also addresses pleas to suspend the justice of the peace special elections. One candidate Mrs. Mary Fish Bell was arrested along with three other women for challenging the segregated election procedures in Americus.

Landry, George. “22 Arrested in Americus; Jury Meets.” Macon Telegraph 3 August 1965: 1.

On Monday August 2, 1965, twenty-two civil rights demonstrators were arrested for trespassing at the local Kwik Check supermarket. The demonstrators were comprised of both adults and children picketing to raise awareness of the discriminatory hiring practices at the store. Local citizens were also awaiting the Sumter grand jury's decision on two black men charged with the murder of Andy Whatley. Governor Sanders continued with pleads to the black community asking that legal channels be used to address the racial unrest in Americus.

“Mayor Again Pleads Negroes End Marches.” Americus Recorder 31 July 1965: 1+.

Mayor T. Griffin Walker issued a press conference to address the ongoing demonstrations a day after the release of four black women in Americus who challenged the voting procedures. Mayor Walker strongly urged Civil Rights members to halt all demonstrations and protests in an effort to prohibit further acts of violence in the town. Civil Rights participants were frequently blamed for disrupting the community even though their efforts were rooted in non-violence.

“Negroes Continue Marches in Protest of Jailings.” Americus Recorder 27 July 1965: 1.

Describes the continued efforts of Americus demonstrations throughout the city challenging the segregation practices in the town. Members of the Sumter County Movement worked diligently to encourage local citizens to join the demonstrations occurring daily. Most demonstrations were held in the evenings with crowds descending upon the local courthouse.

Web Sites:

Anderson, Alan. New Georgia Encyclopedia. “Americus.” 29 Aug. 2005.

The New Georgia Encyclopedia web site houses an enormous amount of information pertaining to Americus, Georgia. The following links provide invaluable information on the climate of Americus during the Civil Rights Movement.

“Koinonia Farm.” <>.

“Habitat for Humanity” <>.

Videos and Magazines:

"Briars in the Cottonpatch: The Story of Koinonia Farm." Dir. Faith Fuller. Prod. Faith Fuller. VHS. Cotton Patch Productions, 2003.

This video tells the story of Koinonia Farm an interracial community started by Clarence Jordan. Koinonia played a significant role in the movement because it was one of the first groups that helped to build housing and provide a system of support for black citizens in Americus. One of Koinonia’s many efforts to bring change sprouted into Habitat for Humanity.

Owens, Donna M. “Stolen Girls.” Essence June 2006: 162+. 

During the summer of 1963, thirty-three young girls were imprisoned in the Leesburg Stockade in Americus. During a civil rights march into downtown Americus, the demonstrators were met by policemen and eventually taken to jail for protesting. For weeks, the girls were shuffled from one jail to another finally arriving at the Leesburg Stockade. During this time, parents and concerned citizens searched for information on the girls, but their inquiries fell on deaf ears. After failed attempts to escape, the women passed the time singing songs until they were finally released. The girls’ incarceration was captured by SNCC photographer Danny Lyon, which drew national attention to the crisis.

Reference Resources:

Lyon, Danny. Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1992.