Saturday, June 26, 2004

Updated Alliance info thru Dec 2003

The Alliance has been blessed by so much in the past year, however one of our most devoted and beloved members, Reverend Welcome Robert Sutton, is not with us tonight. He was our strongest supporter and our spiritual leader and we miss him deeply. He is not with us in the body but I know he is with us in spirit.

The opening of 2003 found us in anticipation of a new home. We watched Donald McCarty, JW Davis, JR Rogers and Bryant Warner and a host of others as they performed “The Miracle on Farmer Street.” When they were through Coweta County had its first African American museum: the Coweta County African American Heritage Museum and Research Center. We dedicated the building along with Newnan’s 175th birthday in April. We officially began as a museum in May with contributions from members of the community: Mrs. Ernestine Bridges and other local beauticians, Reverend Smith, Henry Houzah, the Mose Martin family, Powell Chapel School, the Sutton family and the family of the original owner, Ms. Ruby Caswell. The exhibits were put together by our curators, Dorothy Pope and Wallene Jones. Many thanks to them; their professionalism has placed our museum, small as it is, in the class with many larger museums. The Alliance theme song, A Story To Tell, composed by Mathew Bailey and Jed Butler was introduced at the grand opening accompanied by Ms. Veronica Dennis. Since our opening we have had over 700 visitors, over a hundred from out of state and ten outside of the United States. Our 500th visitor, Ms. Crystal Tolbert, was presented with a gift basket worth over $300, provided by many local vendors. We thank all of sponsors for their generosity.

With the dedication of our “Aunt” Helen Bowles, the research center has expanded its history collection to over 50 of Coweta’s families. Nine out of ten of our local visitors are able to find an ancestor in one of several reference materials available; such as the census records from1850 to 1930, Coweta’s marriage book from 1827 to 1972 or the 1945 school census records. We invite you to come by and experience the excitement they felt when a grandparent or even a great grandparent’s name was discovered.

The museum is not only Coweta County’s only African American visitor’s venue; it is providing a service for students and community organizations in need of service projects. One of them is available tonight. Our promotional brochure was designed by a University of West Georgia (UWG) graduate; Jessica Ruckheim. Another exciting new project is in progress with one of Newnan’s families and UWG’s Public History class for 2004. You will hear more about it as things are finalized. Mike Furbish and Newnan’s beautification team partnered with an Eagle Scout group to provide us with beautiful plants and flowers. There will be a partnership with the Central Education Center’s horticulture students to continue the project. Things are looking up on the hill on Farmer Street. Please come by and witness all the exciting changes. We thank the City of Newnan, Mayor Brady, City Manager Danny Lewis, the City Council, all others who contributed and especially you, the taxpayers, for helping to make this dream come true.

The restoration of the Powell Chapel Schoolhouse final began in June and phase one will be completed by the end of this year. Proctor Cooper of Cooper and Sons Construction and his work crew have done an awesome job so far. The tin roof was replaced by a donation from Skendor Corporation. We are waiting on funds to complete the process with phase two. So far we have received $10,000 of the $45,000 needed with a generous donation of over $9,000 from Coweta-Fayette EMC’s Roundup Program and $1,000 from the Kiwanis Club. We are hoping that at the 2004 third annual Soulful Christmas Celebration we will be telling you about the opening of the Powell Chapel School Museum. The museum will be dedicated to our beloved Reverend Welcome Robert Sutton and will also include a museum of the Prayer Band, which provided Coweta with religious leaders for over 67 years, in his honor.

Major sponsors for Soulful Christmas Celebration 2003:
Georgia Power, Newnan Utilities, Bank of Coweta, Farmers and Merchants Bank

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