Groundbreaking ceremony for the Historic Americus Colored Hospital Civil Rights & Cultural Center
Published 4:20 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022
Wednesday March 16, 2022 a groundbreaking was held at the future location of the Historic Americus Colored Hospital Civil Rights & Cultural Center. Mrs. Juanita Wilson, ASCMRC Member welcomed the sizeable crowd to the ceremony. The invocation was delivered by Bishop Melvin McCluster, Pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church followed by a speech by Sam Mahone, Chairman of the ASCMRC. Mahone stated that this was an opportunity to “Celebrate all the efforts of all of you who have contributed in some way to the rebirth of this important site. Because of your work we are now beginning the construction process that will revive this space as the Americus-Sumter County Civil Rights Museum and Cultural Center and once again, this building will contribute to a strong community and a brighter future for us all.”
Mayor Lee Kinnamon gave a rousing speech about his life here in Americus. How as he grew up here he saw a spirit of resiliance, forward looking and progressiveness. Kinnamon said, “I am here to champion that spirit today. Evidenced by these people who have put their efforts into this project that will not divide this community but will unite this community.” “We can choose to be divided by our history or we can choose to recognize it as it occurred, good and bad, stand shoulder to shoulder and be united by that history. That is what I call upon you to do today. Let us not be divided by the errors of the past but let us recognize them and unite together to provide a foundation of unity to move this community forward, to move this state forward, to move this nation forward.” In closing Kinnamon stated, “I want to see projects like this propel us forward, uniting us in the spirit of love. I have a vision that we will, because of projects like this, become known as the most neighborly city in America.”
Architect Mr. Stanley L. Jennings spoke on the importance of this project and thanked everyone for the opportunity to be part of it. Mr. Jennings stated, “I see who is represented here, and I must say I am almost awe struck. This project is one of the most important works that we have done.” James Moorhead, of Complete Demolition spoke stating that, “We are honored to be part of this project, I can tell how much it means to everyone here, so it means it means a lot to us and we will make sure it is done right.”
Nicole Kirksey, Director of Tourism for the City of Americus and the Americus-Sumter Tourism Council said, “On behalf of tourism and the city of Americus, we are thrilled to add another tourism product to the area.” Kirksey went on to say, “We know that the reason 75% of the people who come to Americus come to visit friends and family. We know that over 68% of the community is African American. What a wonderful way to share your legacy and your heritage. The most important piece is that from a storytelling and tourism standpoint, we know that a museum and an institution just like this is going to help our community heal from the stories we have gathered through the years.”
A new roast from Cafe Campesino was introduced by Tripp Pameroy CEO and Matthew Early who shared their excitement on this project. “It’s really important to Cafe Campesino the role this initiative plays in our community to address a painful past and learn from it. To build something better that brings people together in the name of love and collaboration and bring about change that is lasting.” He went on to introduced a new roast of coffee called Historic Grounds with a label that incorporates an image of the hospital. Pameroy stated, “It will also connect anyone who buys it to support this organization with farmers in Sumatra, Ethiopia and Columbia. We are really grateful to be here.” Matthew Early added that he is new to this community and stated, “I am honored to be working with these incredible people on this project.”
The event ended with a Benediction from Michael Coley, Pastor of 1st United Holiness Church.
If you would like to support the Americus-Sumter County Movement Rememberance Committee and their work on this restoration project, please click below or visit www.theamericusmovement.org for more information about their mission, history and membership opportunities.