Albany community center now named after Civil Rights leader

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 5:17 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Holly Homes Community Center is now named after Mamie Nell “Mimi” Ford Jones, a Civil Rights activist.

The process to rename the community center started about a year and a half ago. And now, other activists who advocated for the change get to see it come into fruition.

Jones spent part of her life living in the Albany Housing Authority on Cherry Avenue before making her mark on the world.

Clennon King is a documentary filmmaker who worked with Jones on a film about the 1964 pool...
Clennon King is a documentary filmmaker who worked with Jones on a film about the 1964 pool incident which helped lead to desegregation.(WALB)

Clennon King is a documentary filmmaker who worked with Jones on a film.

“Mimi was an amazing person,” King said. “And it’s like she said, Cherry Avenue is where she hailed from. This is where she hosted the first campaign a fundraiser for the first Black guy who ran for mayor. She helped raise money for the ‘March on Washington.’”

Frank Wilson is a historian in Albany.
Frank Wilson is a historian in Albany.(WALB)

Frank Wilson is a historian in Albany.

“We thought it was a good way to pay homage to her, but also to serve as an incentive to young folks who live in these Holly Homes to understand it’s not where you’re from, but where you’re headed,” Wilson said.

Jones was also one of six African-American students to desegregate Albany Senior High School.

She worked with multiple Civil Rights organizations in Albany and often taught other Black people how to register to vote, as well as read in order to pass the former literary tests required to vote.

Most notably, she is known for the 1964 photograph taken in St. Augustine, Fla. She and other protestors decided to swim in an all-white motel pool, where the motel manager later poured acid into the pool.

Altomease Latting, left, and Geneva Jones, right, are Mamie Ford Jones’ sisters.
Altomease Latting, left, and Geneva Jones, right, are Mamie Ford Jones’ sisters.(WALB)

Altomease Latting, Jones’ sister, was part of the second group who was supposed to jump into the pool, but they were arrested.

“We knew what we were getting into,” Latting said. “We had been demonstrating, we had been working for registration. We had been introduced to the bombing because the home that we went to in Dawson was bombed as we were there trying to strategize about our next move.”

This incident helped lead to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 being passed. It outlawed segregation.

Jervase Jones is Mamie Nell “Mimi” Ford Jones' son.
Jervase Jones is Mamie Nell “Mimi” Ford Jones' son. (WALB)

Her son, Jervase Jones, wants people to know that she was a human being and a mother above all.

“She was a dreamer, but she was a realist,” Jervase said. “So she wanted me to be prepared for the realities of the world. And not to let the realities of the world define who I am. Never let your surroundings or your environment define you.”

Wilson said the feedback from the community, as well as people living in the housing authority, has been tremendous.

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