Important leader should be honored

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I want to bring attention to a heroic individual whose time has come to be recognized -- the late Rev. Charles Spencer Hamilton, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church for 40 years. I ask the Augusta Commission to rename Harrison Street in his honor. The designated street is adjacent to the church and parallel to 12th Street.

The Rev. Hamilton was a brave and outstanding civil rights leader and city councilman for many years. He also campaigned for mayor twice.

The Rev. Hamilton served as president of the local chapter of the NAACP during a time when it was dangerous to say the letters "NAACP" in public.

A few black teachers were accused of being members of the Communist Party by a member of the Richmond County Board of Education in 1958. Attorney Eugene Cook was called in to investigate the matter and found out the teachers were members of the NAACP. Some board members demanded that the teachers be dismissed. However, the Rev. Hamilton interceded on behalf of the teachers, and they were not fired.

He continued to collect NAACP dues from trusted teachers, but wouldn't issue membership cards or keep membership rolls.

In 1963, he filed a suit testing the constitutionality of an act from 1872 that called for racially separated schools in Richmond County. He led the fight to integrate public venues -- parks, playgrounds and the municipal golf course -- and private accommodations.

He provided leadership for Paine College students who protested and marched to denounce segregated lunch counters and buses.

He was in the forefront before, during and after Augusta's 1970 riot. He called for calmness the night before the riot in a meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church, and the next day in front of the Richmond County municipal building.

He also filed a suit to integrate the city police department.

I am sure the citizens -- as well as the religious, business and political leaders -- would be willing to pay homage to this great leader who made life better for all of us in Augusta.

Tracy E. Williams Jr.

Augusta

Comments (8) Add comment
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willie7
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willie7 05/20/10 - 11:48 pm
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I agree wholeheartedly with
Unpublished

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Williams.
We should honor Rev. Hamilton, a courageous individual and great civil rights leader. I was a part of the golf course protest lead by Rev. Hamilton and May Park.

Nat the Cat
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Nat the Cat 05/21/10 - 12:15 am
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Mr. Williams' request is a

Mr. Williams' request is a worthy cause. Renaming a Street for Rev. Hamilton should be the least that the Commission considers in honor of a great civil rights Leader.

Trey Enfantay
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Trey Enfantay 05/21/10 - 03:34 am
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How about McCauley St since

How about McCauley St since that is the environment and culture he helped to foster?

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 05/21/10 - 05:58 am
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I ride down Laney-Walker and

I ride down Laney-Walker and say to myself, "Life is better for all of us in Augusta".

Jane18
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Jane18 05/21/10 - 07:20 am
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TEW,Jr., If I offend you by

TEW,Jr., If I offend you by this question, I apologize. Are you justus4? (I know I would be offended if someone thought I might be)

sucram
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sucram 05/21/10 - 02:07 pm
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I don't think Mr. Williams is

I don't think Mr. Williams is justus4. He was a great educator and principal in the school system in Richmond County.

noxiousfumes
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noxiousfumes 05/22/10 - 09:33 am
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Trey E., most of the people

Trey E., most of the people on this forum don't know that McCauley Street borders Cherry Tree Crossing. I fail to see how Rev. Hamilton's legacy has anything to do with perpetuating housing projects. He did a lot of great work in this community and I support Mr. Williams in his request.

lsmith
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lsmith 05/22/10 - 10:31 am
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I would prefer to see them
Unpublished

I would prefer to see them rename his church. I'm tired of seeing public buildings and roads with names of individuals and politicians on them, no matter how deserving the renaming might seem to some.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 10:44 am
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Right on, L. Smith. Harrison

Right on, L. Smith. Harrison Street already has a name. Let us not re-name it. Is there nothing new coming down the pike in Augusta that could receive Mr. Hamilton's name?

Cities need to be careful when they name something like a road or a public building or a park. The name should stand the test of time. And we should nevah, nevah, evah re-name a street or a public building.

I like L. Smith's suggestion that the good people of Tabernacle Baptist should name something at the church for Mr. Hamilton (perhaps a new Sunday School Class) and leave the legacy of Mr. (or Ms.) Harrison alone.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/22/10 - 10:51 am
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I am reminded of a similar

I am reminded of a similar travesty a few years ago. Someone twisted some arms in city government, and the Commission changed the name of Steed Street to Swanee Quintet Boulevard. Now, I have no objection to naming something after this gospel quintet, that is beloved by many here in town; but in using the "re-naming" process, we have assigned Mr. Steed to the dustbin of history.

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