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Never Forget: 30 Black Girls Were Imprisoned In A Hot Georgia Stockade For 45 Days For Trying To Buy Movie Tickets

In 1963, more than a dozen Black girls, between the ages of 12-15, were arrested and locked in a dilapidated stockade for two months without charges. Their crime: demonstrating for integration in Americus, Georgia.

In the summer of 1963, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), in cooperation with the NAACP, organized a protest march in Americus, Georgia to protest segregation. The march started at the Friendship Baptist Church and ended at a segregated movie theater.  When they got to the theater, a group of preteen and young African-American teenage girls who would later be called the “Stolen Girls” attempted to purchase tickets at the movie theater, and were arrested for doing so.

Between 15-30 girls were taken by the police, brought to Dawson, Georgia and then transported in dark busses to the Leesburg Stockade a dilapidated, barred, Lee County Public Works building. Conditions in the stockade were horrendous. The girls were held in one room with a single non-functional toilet, the only water was from a broken dripping shower-head in the room, and the food was sparse and poor. They were locked in an overcrowded hot room in the Georgia summer with only warm water to drink and were forced to sleep on cold dirty concrete floors at night.

To add to this, the girls’ parents had no idea where they were. The prison authorities did not inform the prisoners parents on the arrest or location of their children, some who were as young as 12. Their parents only found out after a janitor who worked there personally went to their homes and notified them.

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The young girls, some who were in the 7th grade, were threatened with murder and at one point a rattlesnake was thrown into their cell.

Only after SNCC and a senator from New Jersey named Harrison A. Williams used a set of photos by photographer Danny Lyon to publicize the situation, were the young women set free. They had been held for 45 days total and while they didn’t face any criminal charges after being set free, they were charged a fee for their use of the facilities.

After they were released, the girls didn’t speak of their ordeal for over 50 years. Georgia Public Broadcasting recently followed a group of the prisoners who are still alive back to the Stockade and shot the following video:

 

 

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5 comments

Lafayette E Tolliver February 7, 2019 at 2:50 pm

All of those girls are heroines for their acts of fighting segregation. Too bad the city and police department were not sued for violation of their civil rights. The unknown “stuff” that black people have gone through in order to attain basic 101 civil rights is astounding and the stories will never be fully told because so many have died in the past 50 years and did not pass on that important oral history by having it recorded for the sake of posterity .

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Jean February 9, 2019 at 11:40 pm

I was 16 when this happened. I was focused on finding the right color angora to wrap around my boyfriend’s ring. I weep.

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Almetya Oliver February 10, 2019 at 12:57 am

Yet we rise.
They were charged a fee for using the facility.

Heartless fucks,

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Elaine Zuese February 18, 2019 at 2:25 am

I believe that the names of the higher ups and the lower downs (all responsible for this), even though all this time has passed, should be exposed. The building needs to be memorialized with the names of all the children that were detained. The surviving detainees should receive monetary recompense and payment for whatever therapy they may need after all these years of silence. If not alive, their families should receive recompense. The town and police force should issue a public apology, even though the event is in the deep past. Also, if any perpetrators remain alive, they should be prosecuted to the fullest, especially for the act of kidnapping and detaining the children involved. All to do with this criminal, unconstitutional act should be brought to light and justice and posthumous justice done. A hefty donation to Black Lives Matter, ACLU or some other activist group working for human being rights should be made by the town involved. They should keep the old building preserved, but build a new facility that various activist groups should be allowed to use without cost, as a gathering place to protect the right to free speech and freedom of assembly and to further the cause of human rights in all areas of life, for all people, everywhere.

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Janeyre May 4, 2019 at 1:51 pm

Black movie Gore’s produce ” 42% ” of Hollywood’s annual revenue… Let that marinate, “42%” annual revenue for the Colonizers…

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