Event highlighted local Black history


DeKalb History Center held its ninth annual Black History Celebration on Feb. 23 in the historic DeKalb courthouse in downtown Decatur.

An estimated crowd of 150 was treated to a musical performance by LaDoris Davis opening the ceremony singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Following Davis was a discussion on the Flat Rock community of South DeKalb led by founder and curator of the Flat Rock Archives Museum Johnny Waits. Waits discussed the history of the community, which is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited Black community in DeKalb County, and showed various artifacts from the museum.

The Flat Rock presentation was followed by a discussion on the history of Shermantown and Stone Mountain presented by Dr. Paul Hudson and Lora Mirza. Next up was Jeanne Cyriaque of the Georgia Humanities Council, who discussed the importance of preserving historic African-American communities.


During the buffet luncheon a panel discussion led by Dr. Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, founder and CEO of Preserve Black America, featured James Rivers, Gloria Brown, Mamie Lane, Elaine Vaughn and Evelyn Herans of Shermantown and Rev. T. A. Bryant, Bertha Clark, Alice Bailey and Martha Williams from Flat Rock.

Each panelist shared personal stories of what life was like for each of them growing up in Black communities during segregation.

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