The Americus-Sumter County Movement Remembered Committee, Inc. Receives Grant For The Americus Colored Hospital

April 2020, local

Photo credit: ASCMRC, Inc.

Staff Reports


The Americus-Sumter County Movement Remembered Committee, Inc. is once again pleased to announce that it has received a phase II grant in the amount of $499,697.00 for the FY2019 African American Civil Rights Program funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. This follows a $494,880.00 grant the organization received from the NPS in November 2019 for a total of $994,577.00.

The Historic Preservation Fund supports projects that document, interpret, and preserve sites like the Americus Colored Hospital, that tell the stories of the African American experience in the pursuit of civil rights in America. This
additional funding will assure complete rehabilitation of the building known as the Americus Colored Hospital, as it is officially listed on the Georgia Historic Registry.

The Americus Colored Hospital was established in 1923 by Dr. W. Stuart Prather of Harlem, Georgia, to provide health and medical care to African Americans in Americus and Sumter County. At the time, it was the only medical facility in the country where black medical professionals could practice and serve people of color. The hospital operated from 1923 to 1953, and was associated with 33 medical doctors of color, two dentists, two pharmacists, six registered nurses, 18 nursing professionals, and a Nursing and Midwifery school. History notes that neither New York, Chicago, nor Atlanta, produced these numbers of trained professionals, despite enjoying
much larger populations. The facility was not only a vital lifeline for a poor and marginalized African American community, it was a stabilizing institution
that unified and sustained them during the horrendous Jim Crow era of discrimination and second-class citizenship. During the Americus Civil Rights movement (1962-1966), this historic building became one of two “Freedom Centers” for planning and implementing Movement strategy. Adult literacy
classes were conducted there to teach African Americans how to prepare for,
and pass the unconstitutional literacy tests, required to be eligible to vote. Denied use of the local public library, student and adult volunteers organized and established a library of over ten thousand books that were donated from churches, colleges, universities, and individuals located in mostly northern
states.

Upon restoration of the Colored Hospital, it will be known as the Americus-Sumter County Civil Rights Center and Museum at the Historic Colored Hospital and will join an existing national, regional, and Southwest Georgia Civil Rights Trail. The mission of the Civil Rights Center and Museum is to commemorate the Americus and Southwest Georgia Civil Rights Movement, by identifying, acquiring, and preserving all documentation of the Americus
Civil Rights Movement and the historic Colored Hospital. The Center will serve as a local and regional educational resource for civil and human rights, to address and resolve past, current, and emerging issues of social, political, and economic justice. The Center’s vision is to expand and strengthen the global movement for civil and human rights by empowering continuing generations to embrace social activism, truth, reconciliation, and healing, while addressing issues of race, class, and inequality.

Sam Mahone, Chairman – ASCMRC, Inc.