Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia


June 19, 2014

Your Opinion: June 20, 2014

AMERICUS — Please keep those bags coming

Harvest of Hope Food Pantry has received an abundance of plastic bags in response to our recent request. We thank each of you who has responded to this request. We appreciate every bag.  Please keep up the good work. It takes an enormous supply of bags every month. We need them now and on an on-going basis. This makes you an important part of this ministry.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sonny and Ginger Pinckard


Letter to Dr. John Marshall:

I am responding directly and publicly to John Marshall who on numerous occasions has attacked my personal and professional character and reputation in your monthly newspaper, the Americus Sumter Observer. This message is my response to his vicious and personal attacks and unprofessional assault on my reputation. As you know, I am a proud native and tax payer of Americus, Georgia. You are a native of Savannah, Georgia and should be proud of.

How can you, Dr. John Marshall, as a black professional in this city and affiliated with the NAACP, a highly recognized black national organization, promote hatred and division among our community’s black males and females and, also the white members of this city? John, looking over your history here in Americus and Sumter County, your long standing disruptive behavior appears to have been an attempt to divide the whites and blacks here in Americus who have been close friends for years. You seem to condemn all “white” people on the basis of color, which is the most incredible racist attack on one part of the citizens in our town. Stop attempting to block true cooperative progress among this black and white community. That means better education for our children, jobs for our families and decent medical care for everyone. If you really care about the black community as you have advocated, then you will promote goodwill among everyone for the betterment of the community regardless of race, especially for the younger generations.

What jobs have you brought here to help the many struggling unemployed blacks in Americus? With your reputation, you have no influence with potential job investors because you are not a peaceful person. You cannot destroy my personal or professional reputations so; I am asking you to cease any untrue and unwarranted personal attacks NOW. Please be reminded that when you exercise your free speech rights, there are limitations. It appears to me that either it is John’s way or no way. Your mean-spirited strategies and personal threats against me are well-known and documented. Dr. Marshall, your negative, untrue, and destructive nonsense printed pictures and comments about me in the monthly council meetings and in your monthly newspaper are an embarrassment to you and not me nor my friends and family. My family has always believed that everyone in this city must work together for true growth and progress. We do not focus on hatred and divisive motives. We focus on growth, development, productivity and success.

Since you attempt to conjure an image of yourself as the only black and brilliant person in this city who knows everything about everybody, I would like to know, what have you truly accomplished for the black people, especially the handicapped, elderly and deserving children in this city? You constantly and publicly disparage and criticize leaders and professionals throughout the community in your newspaper, especially black professional females who do not agree with your views and recommendations. You declared in your recent newspapers that you speak for and represent the entire black community in our city, yet I know of no basis whatsoever for your self-serving declaration of authority or representation in that regard. I have not seen any evidence that 100% or even a majority of the black population in Americus and Sumter County has given you the right to speak for them. Yes, I would like to bring the races back together in harmony so that all in our community may prosper.  Where were you when 14 young black school-aged girls, including me, were held hostage in the Leesburg, Georgia Stockade during the 1963 Civil Rights Movement in Americus and Sumter County?

During the past years and in today’s society, black people in Americus and Sumter County have had and still have great relationships with the white community. Black people in this town are working closely together in various jobs; they have white friends; they eat out together; they visit each other at their homes; and blacks have white supervisors and subordinates who work closely together with them. Based upon your logic, are all of the black people working in white environments and socializing with white people on a personal and professional level considered to be “Black Traitors” and members of the KKK’s ?

 I am sure that during your initial arrival in Americus and Sumter County, you had white supporters and treated white patients in your medical practice. Are you “a Black Traitor and a member of the KKK” for doing so? Who gives you the right to dictate people’s lives and actions? Who gives you the right to target and attack black leaders, especially successful women and men, simply because they do not agree with you on every issue or your malicious and divisive tactics?

Moreover, your disgraceful attempts to convince the community that you were a good friend to my brother, Raymond Green are distorted and deceptive representations no doubt motivated by your desire to capitalize on his sterling reputation by portraying yourself as his confidant. Your disingenuous comments about him starkly contrast what he stated about your negative demeanor toward him during his last days on earth. Raymond Green was a legend whose leadership made a difference for many black and white individuals throughout this community in sharp contrast to your negative and unfounded actions toward him over the years. If you had honestly known my brother as alleged in your paper, you would have understood that Raymond taught me the value of strong character and the importance of preserving one’s good name. Raymond would not have tolerated intimidating tactics and abusive behavior or comments from you or anyone else. That is why he was a very special brother and mentor to me.

I caution you against classifying others as ignorant or publishing false and misleading information about anyone with a reckless disregard for its truth, which would unduly injure their reputation. This type of conduct would constitute defamation of character. Such defamation is unwarranted and is a violation of the long-standing legal principle that each person has a protectable interest in his or her character, reputation, and good image and, the right to be free from character assault due to statements which are knowingly false or which were made with a reckless disregard for their truth such that the only reasonable inference is that such statements were made with actual malice.

Shirley Green-Reese, Ph.D.



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