Stockade Girls honored in Leesburg program

Stockade Girls honored in Leesburg program
Sonia Galloway is a daughter of one of the Leesburg Stockade Girls. (Source: WALB)
This is the stockade where over a dozen girls were imprisoned in 1963. (Source: WALB)
This is the stockade where over a dozen girls were imprisoned in 1963. (Source: WALB)

LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - The memories of civil rights heroes right here in South Georgia continue to live on.

Saturday, people gathered in Leesburg to honor a group of women who inspired change decades ago.

Not many people know the story of the 1963 Leesburg Stockade Girls. According to the daughter of one of the leaders, it's one everyone should know.

"I would like for them to know that my mom, right here, was the youngest of them all, and she was 12 when she came in, and she had a birthday here July 3rd, 1963," said Sonia Galloway, the daughter of one of the Stockade Girls.

Galloway's mother spent two months in a stockade prison in Leesburg.

"And to me, she was the bravest women on earth," said Galloway.

In 1963, 15 girls, ages 12 to 15, stayed in the stockade as prisoners, after protesting at a segregated movie theater.

"It seems like every month when we were younger, she used to ride us down this back road and show us where the stockade was and she would always tell us stories about it," said Galloway."This is my first time coming to the stockade because I never wanted to come in, but in memory of her, that's why I'm here"

Galloway said her mother's memory and strength is what carries her today.

"To me, it's like uplifting, because when I was younger with the stories she told me, I was afraid to even tell people when I went to work what she did, that she was one of the Civil Rights Movement people," said Galloway.

A ceremony recognizing each of these young civil rights heroes helped spread the word even more.

"Today, it's just like family just came together," said Galloway.

For this daughter of a woman remembered as a hero, seeing her family members and other girls from the stockade served as a reminded her of her mother's spirit.

"She just wanted freedom for everyone," said Galloway.

As the Stockade Girls were honored, those who attended the event were reminded of the importance of Civil Rights history.

Organizers said events like these bring communities together, and closure for those who endured a rough past.

The Stockade Girls where minors when taken to the prison, and they say not many people knew what was happening to them.

"We found out the truth about this story and that's when we started to work as one to expose it to the community, and it has been great. But we still have a large number of people who are still not aware of this story, but our goal is to get it all over the world," said Dr. Shirley Green-Reese, one of the Stockade Girls.

Saturday, the women reminded everyone that Leesburg is the home of the Stockade Girls.

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