How has Athens been defined by racial injustice? Who was one of the pioneers in our community who integrated the police force?
When Archibald “A.R.” Killian was growing up in Athens, not only were African-Americans barred from eating in the same restaurants, drinking from the same water fountains or using the same restrooms as whites, they couldn’t even boycott the establishments that shunned them for fear of being jailed, or worse.
All that changed—for Killian, at least—when he joined the Air Force in 1952 and became a military policeman. His service took him to France, Germany, Luxembourg and North Africa, places where African-Americans weren’t discriminated against.
Learn more about Archibald Killian’s experiences protecting Hamilton Holmes against the Klan in Athens, integrating the police department, and trying to get promoted in the Flagpole’s article, “R.I.P. Rev. Archibald Killian, Athens’ First Black Police Officer.
This reflection focuses on the theme of re-education as inspired by UU theologian Rebecca Ann Parker in “Not Somewhere Else But Here.” She writes, “Because my education cultivated in me and many others an ignorance rather than a knowledge of my country’s history and its peoples, I can begin to change things when I accept my power and responsibility to reeducate myself.”