Sumter Co. celebrates new historical marker

Published: Apr. 12, 2015 at 3:39 AM EDT
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SUMTER CO., GA (WALB) - Sumter County has a new historical marker in front of their court house, commemorating the place Dr. Martin Luther King was incarcerated.

As they unveiled the historical marker that pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement Juanita Wilson was moved.

“When they uncovered the marker I shed a tear,” says Juanita Wilson.

Over 50 years ago Dr. King was held in the Sumter County jail after marching in Albany. Wilson was just a teen when this happened.

“To know that Martin Luther King was in our Jail and we were treating him as we did it was very emotional,” says Wilson.

Not only does Wilson remember that day, this plaque honors her, and the others who were part of the Civil Rights movement, and imprisoned here.

“What kept you going was that you knew you were fighting for a cause, you were fighting for a reason.. you were there for a reason,” says Wilson.

Her father's church was a meeting ground for those marching in the Civil Rights movement, and Wilson was one of the 30 plus stolen girls in 1963.

“Our day to day lives we spent it crawling on the floor because we were a target,” she says.

With the combined efforts of local community groups and area leaders the project that was two years in the making is now done, and was well worth the labor.

“ It represents the time that everybody who participated in those civil right marches, to let them know that their time spent in being apart of the movement was not in vein,” Thomas Jordan.

Wilson says their work is not done, and sees this as a symbol of the work that needs to be done.

“This right here, probably will embed in some of our young peoples hearts and let us move forward,” says Wilson.

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