Grants Awarded On North Georgia African American Historic Sites

posted July 10, 2007

The Walker County African American Historical & Alumni Association,
Inc. has been awarded a grant for $4,376 from the Georgia Civil War
Commission, Department of Economic Development and a matching grant of
$624 from the Walker County Commissioner’s office.

The grants will be used to fund a $5,000 project to inventory and
assess historic African American sites related to the American Civil
War, Reconstruction and Jim Crow Era in extreme Northwest Georgia which
includes Dade, Walker and Chattooga counties.

WCAAHAA’s grant application received a support letter from Jim
Ogden, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park historian. He
stated that enslaved and free African Americans of Northwest Georgia
have/had “a significant, but usually overlooked, presence that helped
shape the social, economic, political, agriculture, and industrial
landscapes of the region.”

A support letter from Larry D. Wheeler of Trenton stated that he
“believes that this project will provide valuable data that will help
preserve our heritage.”

Sen. Jeff Mullis’ letter of support stated that “with the state of
Georgia preparing for the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, and
wanting to tell the history of the military campaigns and the civilian
home front, this survey will be a valuable resource to obtain an
accurate account of history.”

Also, Commissioner Bebe Heiskell has long been a supporter of
preserving the heritage of Africa Americans of Northwest Georgia. She
has supported WCAAHAA’s efforts to clean and preserve historic Lytle
Cemetery, to restore the servants’ quarters at the
Marsh-Warthen-Clement House and preservation of Chickamauga Masonic
Lodge Hall #221 which is one Georgia’s only two Masonic Lodge Halls
(possibly the only remaining Georgia Masonic Lodge Hall) in the
National Register of Historic Places.

WCAAHAA has contracted the services of Ray Evans and Bruce Wilkey
of the RiverCity Research Group of Chattanooga to complete the
inventory. They will prepare a final report of full descriptions, maps,
and photographs for each site. In the future, WCAAHAA is hoping to
obtain the assistance of Dade, Walker and Chattooga counties’
government to develop a driving tour brochure of those sites to be
ready for the Civil War 150th year anniversary celebration that will
begin in 2010.

For many years, Dade, Walker and Chattooga counties have delegated
the historical development and exhibition of their rich African
American history and tourism to Chattanooga, officials said.

The Chattanooga African American Museum tells the history of the
C.D. Haslerig & Sons Dairy and the Dade County and Lookout Mountain
African Americans.

On numerous occasions Beverly Foster, local historian of Walker
County and Northwest Georgia African American heritage, has been
approached by historians from Georgia State University, Emory
University and the Atlanta History Center concerning the history and
lives of African Americans of the Northwest Georgia Appalachian
Mountains.

Officials said, "Driving tour brochures of African American
historic sites placed at those institutions, the King Center, the
Chattanooga African American Museum, genealogy societies, libraries,
etc. will stimulate interest and tourism in Northwest Georgia.

"African Americans spend millions of dollars each year touring
African American historic sites. They wish to visit places that tell
the stories of the lives of their ancestors. Also, they are searching
for their genealogical roots and Native American heritage."

At a later date, WCAAHAA is hoping to develop a survey and driving
tour of African American historical sites for Catoosa, Whitfield,
Gordon, Murray, Floyd and Bartow counties.

WCAAHAA is asking residents of Walker, Dade and Chattooga counties
to contact Beverly Foster or Mr. Evans with any sites of African
American historical importance dating before the Civil War to 1971.
Those sites may include: plantations, structures built by African
American labor, schools, churches, cemeteries, etc. Some examples are
Marsh-Warthen-Clement House, Gordon Lee Mansion, Pleasant Grove School,
Wallaceville School, Mount Joy Cemetery, Holland Masonic Lodge Hall,
Hill High School Monument Stone, Hill High School dormitory, etc.

Please enclose name of site, location and contact information.

Mr. Evans can be contacted at 423-877-5424 or e-mail: revans@chatt.net.

Mrs. Foster can be contacted at 770-593-1262 or e-mail: bfo8936134@aol.com.

WCAAHAA gives thanks and appreciation to Walker County
Commissioner, Bebe Heiskell and the Georgia Civil War Commission: John
Culpepper, Chair; Tommy Barber, Past Chair; Dr. Melvin T. Steely, Vice
Chair; C. Kelly Barrow, Treasurer; Douglas R. Davis, Secretary; Dr.
Gene Hatfield, John Odom, Olin Pound, Jimmy Rodes, R. Edward Shelor,
Hugh K. “Rusty” Henderson, Mauriel Phillips Joslyn, Jan Burroughs
Loftis, Eunice Mixon and James Yancey.

chattanoogan.com

http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_109878.asp

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