An author, an actress, a boxer and a minister with connections to Augusta will be honored with special monuments on Laney-Walker Boulevard.
Four historical markers will be unveiled Saturday by the Augusta African-American Historical Society. The honorees are author Frank Yerby, actress Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen, boxer Sidney “Beau Jack” Walker and the Rev. Jesse Peters Golphin.
The monuments honor notable people and can help inspire members of the community, especially young people, to strive for their own accomplishments, said Dennis Williams, the chairman of the historical society.
“(The monuments) remind the community of the many countless minorities that have made a difference in our community,” Williams said.
The four monuments, made from a brick base with a granite top, are being added to 14 previously dedicated.
“Everybody needs to know their history and understand it,” Williams said.
Saturday’s honorees were chosen from a list of nominees by a committee of the historical society.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Unveiling of historic monuments
WHEN:10:30 a.m. today
WHERE: Across from Wallace Branch Library, 1237 Laney-Walker Blvd.
• Author Frank Garvin Yerby was born in Augusta on Sept. 15, 1916. He was the first black to have a best-selling novel and to have a book purchased for a Hollywood film adaptation. He graduated from Haines Institute and Paine College.
• Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen played a slave named Prissy in the 1939 movie classic Gone With the Wind. She was born in Tampa, Fla., but moved to Augusta to live with her aunt. She attended public school in Augusta before moving to New York as a teenager. She moved back to Augusta off and on and died in a fire caused by a kerosene heater at her Augusta home Dec. 22, 1995.
• Sidney “Beau Jack” Walker was born in Waynesboro, Ga., and raised in Augusta by his grandmother, who gave him his nickname. He was one of the greatest lightweight boxers of the 1940s and 1950s. As a youth, he shined shoes at the corner of Ninth and Broad streets and, later, at Augusta National Golf Club.
• The Rev. Jesse Peters Golphin helped found Springfield Baptist Church, the nation’s oldest African-American Baptist church. In 1793, he moved to Augusta after being freed from slavery in South Carolina, according to Springfield’s Web site.
Source: New Georgia Encyclopedia