On Thursday, May 4, 2017, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, Fred Smith, co-chair of the Athens Area Black History Committee, and various community leaders will meet 5:30 pm at the UGA Arch to honor our ancestors whose remains were discovered at UGA Baldwin Hall. Organizers encourage local citizens to join them at the Arch and to bring positive signage and vernations. After guest speakers pay their respects, facilitators and local residents will walk peacefully to Baldwin Hall– site of Athens’ oldest known slave cemetery (1810 to 1858) for a libation ceremony and vigil. The libation ceremony was chosen to be held on this date to also bring awareness to Athens jubilee which occurred May 4, 1865.
This vigil will include an African ritual heritage, the libation ceremony. There will be community guest speakers. The organizers’ overall goal is to honor the lives of these individuals and their contribution to the Athens we all live in today. Many community leaders believe the bodies should have been buried with their free ancestors in one of Athens’ historic African-American cemeteries, not in Oconee Hills with their slave masters and their masters’ descendants.
The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement will stand with the Athens Area Black History Committee hosting a vigil and rally for the slaves still buried there and the slaves removed in 1938, 1943, and most recently 2016. The Vigil and Rally will encourage respect, peace, unity, love and dialogue. Supporters and special guests include Alvin Sheats President of the local NAACP Chapter, Fred Smith co-chair of Athens Black History Bowl, Mansur Buffin UGA Student, Linda Davis, Broderick Flannigan of Flannigan Studios and more.
This ceremony is our community’s way of becoming a part of the act of finally putting these unfortunate souls to rest in a place without the weight of the chains of slavery on their backs.
The UUFA Social Action Committee (SAC), part of the Justice Cluster, will be a co-sponsor of this event.
You are invited to attend.