MCG plans memorial to Gilbert Manor namesake

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Gilbert Manor is about to be razed, but under the Medical College of Georgia's plans it won't be completely erased.

A man passes by the former site of Gilbert Manor. The Augusta Housing Authority has asked MCG to preserve the memory of the housing project and the man for whom it was named.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
A man passes by the former site of Gilbert Manor. The Augusta Housing Authority has asked MCG to preserve the memory of the housing project and the man for whom it was named.

J. Michael Ash, vice president of administration for MCG, said the college is considering a memorial of some sort, both to the former public housing project and the man it was named for, pioneering black scholar John Wesley Gilbert.

"We haven't drawn any pictures yet," Dr. Ash said. "We're just tossing around concepts."

Removal of the 67-year-old housing complex is imminent, with a demolition fence already going up along R.A. Dent Boulevard. Groundbreaking on MCG's dental school should happen in late summer, Dr. Ash said.

Where on the 15-acre site the memorial would be hasn't been determined. It might have a platform built with bricks from Gilbert Manor's buildings, and it might use the marble sign now at the corner of R.A. Dent Boulevard and Spellman Street, Dr. Ash said. It's also likely to incorporate two bronze building plaques from the site that the Augusta Housing Authority has in storage.

Housing authority board members said at their last meeting that they would like to see those plaques used. The authority sold the project to the medical college last year for $6.9 million, part of $10 million the city gave MCG to keep its expansion in Augusta.

One of the plaques commemorates Dr. Gilbert and was affixed in Gilbert Manor's community center, built in 1989.

The other is the original building identification plaque from the administration building. It lists President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Augusta Mayor J.M. Woodall and housing authority Chairman Elbert Peabody.

An estimated 3,500 families lived in Gilbert Manor from its opening in 1941 until its shuttering in 2008, housing authority planning and development director Richard Arfman said.

Touted as a "slum-clearance project," it was the city's second public housing complex after Sunset Homes.

"I think there's a lot of public sentiment for it," Mr. Arfman said of the need for a memorial. "A lot of history comes from there."

Dr. Ash said the memorial would be one way MCG can thank the city for the site, in addition to the people uprooted so the college could expand.

"The property meant so much to so many people in the Augusta area," Dr. Ash said. "We just think it's appropriate."

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

JOHN WESLEY GILBERT

When the Gilbert Manor site is redeveloped, a new thoroughfare connecting R.A. Dent Boulevard and Spellman Street will likely be named for John Wesley Gilbert, according to Medical College of Georgia vice president of administration J. Michael Ash.

Born in Hephzibah in 1864, Dr. Gilbert was Paine College's first student and its first black faculty member.

He became a classical Greek scholar and one of the first black archaeologists, studying in Greece on a scholarship and taking part in excavations throughout Greece and the Mediterranean islands.

After teaching Greek and religion at Paine College, in 1911 he accompanied Methodist Bishop Walter R. Lambuth on a mission to Africa, where they established a church in what was then Belgian Congo.

Dr. Gilbert died 18 years before Gilbert Manor opened in 1941. According to accounts from The Augusta Chronicle, two of his former students got the complex named for him.

Paine College's Gilbert-Lambuth Chapel is named for Dr. Gilbert and Bishop Lambuth, who was a trustee of the college.

Source: Paine College, Augusta Chronicle archives

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iletuknow
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iletuknow 01/29/09 - 03:37 am
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For $10 mil MCG would name it

For $10 mil MCG would name it after Santa Claus if need be.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/29/09 - 05:51 am
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Heh, heh, heh, this is pretty

Heh, heh, heh, this is pretty funny. They are going to use the old plaques found in storage. You won't see monuments to the Navy School in Athens I bet. They will build statues of Sonny Perdue, Dan Rahn and Michael Adams meeting in secret at the motel planning the Athens medical school.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 01/29/09 - 06:15 am
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A memorial to a slum removal

A memorial to a slum removal project? Sometimes I don't understand the Augusta attitude. Why not let the whole public housing concept slip into the annals of failed social engineering efforts. It won't be too many generations before it's forgotten.

jebko
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jebko 01/29/09 - 06:22 am
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A fitting tribute.

A fitting tribute.

SCGAL53
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SCGAL53 01/29/09 - 07:42 am
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Did you ever think there were

Did you ever think there were actually some good people there? Not every person living in a project is bad. I'm sure some of them have fond memories and many actually became productive citizens. I say they deserve their memorial.

LadyCisback
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LadyCisback 01/29/09 - 08:27 am
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The fond memory of running to

The fond memory of running to get the post to get the welfare check to quickly drive to the bank to deposited before the sale on plasma t.v. ends..

justthefacts
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justthefacts 01/29/09 - 09:02 am
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I would think remembering Mr.

I would think remembering Mr. Gilbert is the right thing to do.

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 01/29/09 - 09:29 am
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I thought the memorial was

I thought the memorial was for the name sake and not the project. Why in the hell didn't any of you make the comments when they named something after Reagan?

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 01/29/09 - 09:30 am
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LadyCisback, do you have fond

LadyCisback, do you have fond memories of buying your Meth or Ecstasy?

APiratesLife4Me
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APiratesLife4Me 01/29/09 - 09:39 am
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Incredible.............. I

Incredible.............. I have a better idea. Use that money to fix that dang pot hole by the railroad tracks crossing that site beside that place.

LadyCisback
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LadyCisback 01/29/09 - 09:41 am
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I don't do illegal drugs..

I don't do illegal drugs..

augusta9696
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augusta9696 01/29/09 - 09:45 am
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Patrica Thomas views are

Patrica Thomas views are sometimes right and sometimes far out there, but to say what you just said about history, and Gilbert Minor, that it will be forgotten, just showed me your educational level. I will contiue to read the Augusta Chronicle from Atlanta Georgia every morning before iam off to school,but never again will i read a comment that you wrote. You are a sick person.

augusta9696
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augusta9696 01/29/09 - 09:45 am
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Patrica Thomas views are

Patrica Thomas views are sometimes right and sometimes far out there, but to say what you just said about history, and Gilbert Minor, that it will be forgotten, just showed me your educational level. I will contiue to read the Augusta Chronicle from Atlanta Georgia every morning before iam off to school,but never again will i read a comment that you wrote. You are a sick person.

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 01/29/09 - 10:07 am
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Well why in the hell do you

Well why in the hell do you think everyone that lived in Gilbert manor were on welfare?

aaa
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aaa 01/29/09 - 10:17 am
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A memorial to a housing

A memorial to a housing project ?????? Are you insane????? Oh yea, let's be grateful to the government that suppressed personal initiative and responsibility and encouraged laziness, crime, drug/alcohol abuse, and government dependence for God knows how many people. What is wrong with the world today? Everything is upside down! PatriciaThomas, once again you hit the nail on the head! That is why you are criticized and that the truth of failed social engineering is so distasteful to those who want to keep the status quo and keep good folks from getting ahead. The sooner Mr. Obama tears down all projects, the better our society will be. Mr. Obama, tear down those projects!

aaa
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aaa 01/29/09 - 10:19 am
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I just re-read the article. I

I just re-read the article. I am convinced that the last MCG Administration meeting took place in the Department of Anesthesiology. No doubt that plenty of laughing gas was passed around.

KingJames
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KingJames 01/29/09 - 10:20 am
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The memorial is really for

The memorial is really for Dr. Gilbert. I would like to think that his achievements are what would be recognized, and that mention of the housing project named in his honor would be part of his legacy. The people who lived there should really have no bearing on the man who died 18 years before it was built. I don't think Gilbert Manor will soon be forgotten, as it was as much a part of Augusta as MCG itself. Thank you AC for the mini-bio on Dr. Gilbert. As a native Augustan, I was unaware of the man and his accomplishments, and did not know there was a link between Gilbert Manor and Gilbert-Lambuth Chapel other than proximity to Paine College.

Vertical2
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Vertical2 01/29/09 - 10:42 am
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KJ: Agreed. Dr. Gilbert

KJ: Agreed. Dr. Gilbert deserves eternal recognition in this the place that bore his name for so many years. The residents are not being memorialized, but acknowleged. Another great post.

toppergem
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toppergem 01/29/09 - 10:58 am
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Good article...great idea

Good article...great idea MCG!

KingJames
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KingJames 01/29/09 - 10:59 am
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Vertical2, thanks. A lot of

Vertical2, thanks. A lot of confusion in the posts could be avoided if people would take the time to comment on what is stated in articles instead of one or two small things that they don't like. It seems that most people think that a memorial would be for the housing project with a bad reputation. All they really had to do to get a clearer understanding was read the full title of the article. They would have known that the memorial is to Dr. Gilbert. It is true what they say...reading is fundamental.

sprintman
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sprintman 01/29/09 - 11:35 am
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I think the tribute was to

I think the tribute was to Dr. Gilbert which I find nothing wrong with. Some people just want to be negative everyday. Im glad that Augusta is finally seeing the growth and construction of a large city.

aaa
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aaa 01/29/09 - 11:59 am
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"The college is considering a

"The college is considering a memorial of some sort, both to the former public housing project and the man it was named for". Reading is fundamental. It is acceptable and within our current free speech rights to express an opinion when one believes an injustice has occurred or is about to occur. To name the facility in part as a memorial to the government housing project would be an injustice for all the many reasons indicated by some of the above posts. To name it after Dr. Gilbert would be honorable. Reading is certainly fundamental.

transplant
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transplant 01/29/09 - 12:02 pm
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Patricia Thomas and others,

Patricia Thomas and others, you are very negative. Where did you grow up and what have you contributed to the city? You seem, from the way you correspond in this section everyday, to be pillars of the community, which I doubt. You stereotype everyone who grew up in a housing project. Well I beg to differ with you. I know of families who reared college graduates who lived in housing and who are doing very well. What are your kids doing, if you have any. What are You doing. You must not work, because you are too busy spreading your negative opinions on this site everyday. Look at your own life, what have you done with it lately?

KingJames
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KingJames 01/29/09 - 12:52 pm
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Standing Tall, you missed

Standing Tall, you missed something very important. Your quote from the article doesn't mention the people who lived in GM. You have a problem with some of the former occupants who could have been drug dealers, welfare recipients, etc. The housing project itself wasn't the problem. The problem was with some of the people. Previous articles stated that GM was designed to make access to hospitals easier for indigents. A lot of indigents were treated by the students of MCG. That in and of itself made indigents from GM and other places vital to MCG and the city of Augusta. Taxpayers may have footed the bill all these years, but it still gave doctors in training willing subjects for which to practice their craft before becoming proficient enough to practice on the paying and insured public. That was the benefit of GM's proximity to MCG which was still in line with one of it's original purposes. Read my first post again. It mentions Dr. Gilbert's legacy which doesn't include the gangs, drugs, and welfare that usually associated with GM. I wouldn't honor gangs and drug dealers either.

SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 01/29/09 - 01:03 pm
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Cherry Tree Crossing should

Cherry Tree Crossing should be named Justin "Jed" Elmore so that pepople will never forget the what happens when generational welfare people are clustered together: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/memphis-crime

KingJames
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KingJames 01/29/09 - 01:49 pm
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SMT, people would see that as

SMT, people would see that as glorifying and glamorizing a criminal. I called him a criminal because of his record and his attempt to flee the police.

devilishlymad67
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devilishlymad67 01/29/09 - 03:08 pm
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"Well why in the hell do you

"Well why in the hell do you think everyone that lived in Gilbert manor were on welfare?" Hypo because to live in government housing is being on welfare! so essentially everyone who lived there under the housing authority were welfare receipents who wouldn't or couldn't pay their own way in society and therefore leeched off of the tax payers.

ss30809
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ss30809 01/29/09 - 04:55 pm
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As a memorial, I think MCG

As a memorial, I think MCG should name the new Dental School after Mr. Gilbert or at least name a conference room, auditorium, or classroom after him.

KingJames
10
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KingJames 01/29/09 - 05:47 pm
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Devilishlymad, that's not

Devilishlymad, that's not altogether true. Some people who live in the projects do so for convience. If you think about the area surrounding GM, there was employment, education, churches, and medical care. If someone started out on welfare, then became employed and gradually got off, but had no form of transportation, then maybe they would have wanted to stay in GM. Some who are able to move up are not necessarily able to move out. Someone without transportation and desiring to move from GM would have had to have found a dwelling in the same general area as GM. The same crime that was found at GM would also be in areas close to it. So that person may have figured, "Why bother moving? Just pay the full amount of rent."

aaa
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aaa 01/29/09 - 11:34 pm
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KingJames: You seem to invent

KingJames: You seem to invent convenient "truths" faster than Al Gore! GM was not built so that students and young doctors could have plenty of practice. Think about the absurdity of your statment and I'm sure you'll see how many holes it has in it. The vast majority of patients at MCG come from the surrounding counties, some as far away as south Georgia. It would be impossible for GM to have generated enough patients for the hundreds of students and doctors in training to "practice" on. They would literally need to all be sick at the same time to generate that sort of patient load. Didn't happen. I am glad, however, that you admit that you would not honor gangs and drug dealers. That's noble. However, honoring the government project itself (minus the gangs and drug dealers) is equally repugnant to the principles of individual liberties and responsibility. Any government social program that deprives the individual of his or her self respect or that burdens them with the shackles of stagnation under the guise of welfare should have no memorial other than that found in the "annals of failed social engineering".

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