Sumter County -- Hands clapped and people swayed to a song that helped a generation through a movement. Young and old converged to remember the struggles fought during the sixties.
They payed respect to those who paved the way. "Several people got beat up, got killed in Sumter County as a result of our fight, of our struggle to obtain our civil rights," said Program Chairman, Juanita Wilson.
Friday evening was for them. "It is really important for the folks who were involved as much younger people in the movement in this part of the state to share those memories to lift each other up," said Director of the Prison and Jail Project, John Cole Vodicka.
The event also celebrated the role Sumter County played during the Civil rights movement. "Americus is like many small cities across the country that really fueled the civil rights movement," said Co-Chairman, Sam Mahone.
And although the events in Americus are not printed in history books across the nation; the city did its part. "Because of the continued demonstrations here. It furthered the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964," said Mahone.
Ultimately Friday was a reminder that all the freedoms enjoyed today came at a price. "To come to the point where black and white and any race can come together and feel good about ourselves is an accomplishment," said Wilson.
Benefits we now enjoy. Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who was one of Martin Luther King's top aides, was the keynote speaker.
The "Americus-Sumter County Movement-Remembered" celebration will continue through the weekend.