Markers honor black leaders

Nikasha Dicks/Staff
E. Marlow McIntyre Jr. (left) and his mother, Juanita McIntyre, unveil the marker for Ed McIntyre Sr., Augusta's first black mayor, in front of Lucy C. Laney Memorial Stadium.

The African-American Historic Committee unveiled six markers Friday along Laney-Walker Boulevard as part of the Walk of Fame, which highlights the contributions of historic black figures.

During the ceremony, markers were unveiled for James Nabrit, the former dean of the Howard University Law School and former president of Howard University; Lucy Craft Laney, "Mother of the People's Children" and founder of the Haines Normal & Industrial Institute and the Lamar School of Nursing; John McClinton Tutt, mathematician and Hall of Fame coach in four sports at the Haines Normal & Industrial Institute and Laney High School; Essie McIntyre, the first black female to be ordained in the Augusta area; Edward McIntyre Sr., the first black mayor for the city of Augusta; and the Rev. C.T. Walker, the founder of Tabernacle Baptist Church and Walker Baptist Institute.

The markers joined five others unveiled in October 2004.

"We honor them today because of what they did. God has chosen each of us to perform certain tasks in this life. They did theirs with style and they did it exceedingly well," said Dr. James Carter III, a local historian and activist.

Edward McIntyre Sr. was the founder of the committee, so having a marker placed along the Walk of Fame is a "momentous" event, said his oldest son, E. Marlow McIntyre Jr., who is a member of the committee.

"It's been a long time coming for my father to be honored this way. This is truly a great day," he said.

"In the future, we plan to have a street named after my father and to have a bronze statue of him on the Riverwalk," he added, stating that they are hoping to name 12th Street after his father.

The committee purposely placed the Walk of Fame along the Laney-Walker Boulevard because of its accessibility, said Harry B. James III, the committee's chairman.

"Historically, Laney-Walker is the best-known thoroughfare in the black community," said Mr. James. "A lot of traffic, both foot and vehicle traffic, come along this street. It's a perfect place to have the Walk of Fame. People can stop and learn about these persons and their contributions."

Mr. James related the importance of the Walk of Fame and preserving black history to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

"Dr. King would be proud to see what we are doing today because it is very important that the history of African-Americans be told. It is very important that we understand our history. Once we understand that we are a great people, we will take pride in ourselves," he said. "We are a great people with a great history, a great legacy; we can accomplish anything if we stick together."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.