Georgia has “produced a lot of interesting and great writers” including many famous African American literary talents who are profiled at the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in Athens
By Greg Peterson, volunteer media advisor for the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education, Inc. in Augusta, Georgia
(Athens, GA) – The state of Georgia has “produced a lot of interesting and great writers” including many famous African American literary talents who are profiled at the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in Athens, Georgia.
“A lot of people don’t think that former Pres. Jimmy Carter, Johnny Mercer and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are celebrated at the Hall of Fame – but they are,” said Rev. Terence A. Dicks, who took the photos while in Athens to attend an event at the University of Georgia on behalf of Georgia Legal Services Program.
“They are all great writers in their own right,” Rev. Dicks said.
The late Dr. King and former Pres. Carter worked on award-winning social justice issues.
Among those honored in Athens is prolific and celebrated African-America author William Edward Burghardt “W.E.B.” Du Bois (Feb. 1868 – Aug. 1963), who wrote the landmark collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk.
Perhaps most important, Du Bois penned a (1935) great work titled Black Reconstruction in America – that effectively debunked and challenged the absurd – but popular notion – that blacks were responsible for the dismal failures of the Reconstruction.
In 1909, Du Bois was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Yerby wrote 33 novels that sold 55 million copies and were translated into 22 languages, and three became motion pictures: Foxes of Harrow (1946), The Golden Hawk (1948), and The Saracen Blade (1952).
In addition to his writing talents, Yerby was a professor at several universities over his life time.
“Paine College has an entire collection of his books that is maintained in the college’s Frank Yerby House” that opened in 2008, Dicks said,
Constructed in the early 20th century, the original Yerby home in Augusta was moved in Feb. 2004 from 1112 Eighth St. – a mile and a half to Paine College property – specifically to 1718 Laney-Walker Boulevard (at Druid Park Avenue).
The building was recently demolished just over a year later (2005) because it was in poor condition including asbestos, lead, and structural issues.
A replica was built in its place.
In Feb. 2013, the Paine College School of Arts and Humanities hosted the Inaugural Frank Yerby Literary Symposium.
Yerby was born in Augusta on September 5, 1916 and died on November 21, 1991 in Madrid, Spain.
“Young Africans Americans should find out about their heritage and history,” said activist Rev. Terence A Dicks, a Progressive Democrat from Augusta.
“I would invite teachers to do field trips to the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in Athens,” Dicks said.
“It’s a great campus – and will help young people to start thinking about college.”
Dicks has long been a prolific reader of African American history – and believes you are never too young or old for blacks to learn about their heritage.
“I was going to run for political office in Augusta and wanted to gain a stronger sense of who I am,” said Dicks, who “made the choice to work in the media and restaurant business instead of going to college.”
These types of exhibits should inspire African American youth to go to college.
“Don’t wait until college – and you don’t have to be in college – to learn these things,” Rev. Dicks said.
“You don’t have to be in college – to learn these things,” Rev. Dicks said.
“There are a lot of people on a journey of discovery” especially now that Barack Obama is America’s first African American President.
“It is no longer what we used to call black history – it is history – and its become real to so many because of Obama’s second term,” Dicks said.
“It is no longer what we used to call black history – it is history,” Dicks said.
The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame was established in 2000 as part of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library to honor Georgia writers and to introduce the public to the library’s rich collections for research into Georgia literature and cultural history.
Frank Garvin Yerby was born in Augusta, Georgia, on September 5th, 1916, the son of a black hotel doorman, Rufus Garvin Yerby and his white wife, Wilhelmina.
He attended private elementary and high school, the Haines Institute, predominately black, and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Paine College
Photo of Frank Yerby House replica by Amber Rhea
Photo of Frank Yerby House replica by Paine College:
Photos by Rev. Terence Dicks, 706-799-5598