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1-4-05 Madison County is Right to Honor Lemuel Penn

It is commendable that the Madison County BOC is taking steps to name the bridge after Colonel Penn.   Madison County, as a whole, does not need to “issue apologies” or “do penance” for this horrific act.   Unfortunately, there are some evil people everywhere.  A Historical Marker or plaque needs to be placed to remind future travelers of the violence that can occur in our midst.

AVOC

 

January 4, 2005

 

Madison County is Right to Honor Lemuel Penn

 

By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.

 

The news that the Madison County BOC is seeking to name the Broad River Bridge after Lemuel Penn is a positive development.  Lemuel Penn was an Afro-American Army Officer traveling from Fort Benning to Washington D.C. after military training. Klan members targeted him in Athens and followed him to the Broad River Bridge and shot him in the car he was driving.  This occurred during the height of the Civil Rights struggles in the South in the 1960’s.  It was probably the worst case of Civil Rights violence in Georgia during the struggles of the ‘60’s.

 

I was in the Army in Texas at the time of this slaying.  The slaying received national media attention.  It was sad and embarrassing for our state.  Governor Carl Sanders was more positive in his reaction than some Southern Governors had been during civil rights violence.  I remember writing to Governor Sanders and expressing pride in his exemplary conduct during the height of the matter.

 

The perpetrators were not all residents of Madison County and did not represent the majority of citizens in Madison or other area counties.   A Madison County jury did acquit the defendants of murder.  A Federal Jury in Athens, with citizens from all over Northeast GA, did convict the defendants of Civil Rights violations and some served some prison time.

 

Madison County does not need to “issue apologies” or “do penance” for this horrific act.   Unfortunately, there are some evil people everywhere.

 

It is commendable that the Madison County BOC is taking steps to name the bridge after Colonel Penn.   A Historical Marker or plaque needs to be placed to remind future travelers of the violence that can occur in our midst.

 

For more information on the slaying, see the following AVOC Articles:

 

7-13-04 Lemuel Penn Murdered Near Athens in 1964: PART 1

 

7-18-04 Lemuel Penn Murdered Near Athens In 1964: PART 2

 

06/06/02 - ATHENS CONNECTION TO TERRORISM IN THE '60'S; MURDER, RACISM AND THE FBI

 


The Madison County Journal

         http://www.mainstreetnews.com/Active/Mad.html

 

December 29, 2004

 

In Honor of Lemuel Penn


BOC to ask state to rename bridge after slain soldier, educator


Madison County commissioners will seek to rename the Hwy. 172 bridge for a respected black soldier and educator murdered in the night by Athens Klan members on a Madison County road just nine days after the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.


The BOC voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of requesting that the Georgia General Assembly approve the renaming of the Broad River Bridge at Hwy. 172 “Lemuel Penn Bridge.”


Commissioners Bill Taylor, Mike Youngblood, Melvin Drake and Bruce Scogin voted in favor of the resolution, while commissioner Johnny Fitzpatrick provided the lone vote against it.


For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


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