Saturday, June 26, 2004

Memorial to Gloria Maddox Murry Herron

Published on the Amsterdam News website:

In memoriam of Gloria Maddox Murry-Herron
Originally posted 12/18/2003

Even in her transition from the physical realm to the spiritual realm, my sister, Gloria Maddox Murry-Herron was steadfastly committed to education in the spirit of her mother, N.S. Maddox. In lieu of flowers to celebrate her life, Gloria requested donations to the Powell Chapel School Restoration Project, in memory of our mother, to preserve a critical piece of history evidencing the Black struggle in Coweta County, Georgia, for education.
Like most Black schools, Powell Chapel School started after the Civil War, in a church, the Powell Chapel Church, in the late 1890s. Fire destroyed the church in 1917 during a period of great racial strife. It was rebuilt in 1920. By 1937, the church had secured enough building materials and Black labor to construct a one-room schoolhouse during a period when Blacks were suffering from an economic holocaust.
In 1942, the church was able to add another room to the school and hire my mother as a second teacher. Local government would eventually and meagerly subsidize the Black teachers while giving white teachers full salaries. Whites preferred for Black children to pick cotton rather than to read books.
White children rode school buses to government-built, brick buildings. Black children, on the other hand, had to negotiate dirt roads and walk through wooded areas for miles to reach makeshift school buildings. The legacies of the sumptuary laws not only still continued to prohibit Blacks from owning luxury cars and fine clothing, but also from building decent school buildings, notwithstanding the “separate but equal” doctrine.
All of this history about Blacks in Coweta County is being gathered by Cynthia Rosers, an energetic and committed woman of African ancestry, who hails from Harlem and now resides in Coweta County. She has established the African American Alliance, Inc. which has oversight responsibilities over the Coweta County African American Heritage Museum and Research Center.
It was established in May 2003 and its first project is the restoration of the Powell Chapel School. The school is already registered on the Georgia and National Register of Historic Places, a first for a building built and maintained by Blacks in the county.
In pursuing this project, Rosers is losing the blouse off of her back.
Rosers asked me about the schools I attended in the county. My first school was Walter B. Hill Industrial School, in Turin, Georgia. I attended it in the first and second grades. She immediately asserted that Walter B. Hill was a “Rosenwald” school. Julius Rosenwald supported Booker T. Washington.
While I was aware of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, I never knew that my first school was funded, in part, by the Julius Rosenwald Fund, arising from the superb craftsmanship of a Black man, Alvah Roebuck of Sears Roebuck. It is reported that he was ousted from a company he established and which was destined to become a major corporation.
This building program required matching funds. With respect to the Hill School, Blacks contributed 32%; the Julius Rosenwald Fund contributed 30%; whites contributed 19%; and local government only contributed 19%, even though Blacks had to pay taxes.
It was the first of six Rosenwald-inspired schools built in the county and it was, at first, and for many years, the only vocational school in the county. Only a handful of these schools are still in existence in the country. The Hill School is still standing in Turin, and any change to it is subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act......
Like mine, Gloria’s formal education started in a Black-funded school. She always wanted to be a teacher like her mother. After her retirement as a school principal, she served as a consultant for the Georgia Department of Education......
Gloria will be missed and, more importantly, remembered. She was my only sibling. Although she suffered a major medical setback on December 6, she was able to hold on until I arrived at the hospital late on December 8, due to a snowstorm, to join her beloved husband, Julius, by her bedside. She made her predawn transition on December 9 and died at the same age and of the same type of cancer as her mother.

Be A Part Of History By Designing Our Flag, Deadline July 10, 2004

Want To Be A Part Of History?
Either African American Alliance or Coweta County AA Heritage Museum Announces Flag Design Contest for Graphic Designers and Artists

April 29, 2004 Newnan, GA. Cynthia Rosers, founder and director of Coweta County's newest museum, the Coweta County African American Heritage Museum and Research Center, announces the "Make History with the African American Heritage Museum" contest. This contest is open to the general public, and specifically directed toward Graphic Artists and Graphic Artist students. Entrants will compete to have their original design become the official flag for the museum that will be displayed on a flag pole outside of the museum located at 92 Farmer Street, Newnan, Georgia.

Rosers says "This contest will give someone the opportunity of a lifetime to have their art or design on display at the museum where we have had over a thousand visitors in our first year. The Alliance board and membership would like the flag to reflect the heart and soul of Newnan's African American heritage.”

The Coweta County African American Heritage Museum and Research Center opened in 2003. It’s the first Black museum in Coweta County exhibiting historical African American architecture as well as providing a repository for Coweta’s African American artifacts and records. The museum and research center also serves as a genealogy workroom for African American research.

The following are the specifications that are required for the entries:
-Any combination of the colors: red, black, green, gold and/or white
- The museum's logo
- The name of the museum or the initials CCAAHMRC
Artists may submit more than one design for consideration. The entry/processing fee is $20.00 per entry. Entrants must submit a printed color copy and jpg or ??ai file of their design as well as a brief explanation of their design as it relates to the museum.
The winner will receive the privilege of having their design become the official flag of the museum, a special commemoration at the unveiling of the flag during the Freedom Day Celebration, August 28th and a $100.00 monetary prize. All entries must be postmarked by July 10, 2004. All entries will become the property of the African American Alliance and will not be returned.
Please visit for more details and to download the entry form.

Pinson Street Tour of Homes a Sucess!

Greetings everyone,

The tour was spectacular!!!!
The weather was simply gorgeous. We had blue skies and the sun was shinning brightly. It was little windy but that was a very small negative to such a beautiful day. The weather report earlier in the week called for rain in the morning for Saturday, but not a drop fell.

When we got to the Rosser Center to set up at 9:30 there were four people already there. They eagerly waited for us to get start. The first group consisted of students from Kennesaw State University and several people from Atlanta. As of now we can report selling 97 tickets. We have not gotten the report from one other ticket location. We had decided that 25 would have been good and 50 would be a success. That makes the 95+ a HUGH success. Among the people on the tour was Mayor Brady of Newnan, three city council members, Lynn Smith, our state representative, college students from three universities, two ladies visiting from Seattle, Washington, two interns from India and many people from as far as Athens, Georgia. Everyone was very, very impressed and even people who lived on Pinson Street said they learned at least one thing that they did not know. The hosts of the two homes and the two churches were very pleased with everything.

I would like to send out thanks to the following members and volunteers who helped to make this a great success. Without them it would not have happened.

Jessica Ruckheim:
her hard work, dependability and professionalism shows in the history booklet and her organization of the tour itself. She stayed on top of things with me to make sure that the tour happened with minimum problems.

Brenda Matthews, Bernice Cameron, and Toni Teagle, our tour guides.
They really made the tour come alive and did it with such passion. They really made our guest feel involved and they all came away with nothing but compliments.

Janice Black:
our invited tour host. She came from California to lend her personal experiences growing up on Pinson Street with the people on the tour. Her original interpretation added a very humanistic touch to the tour.

Mrs. Dorothy Jordan and Mrs. Geneva McWhorter, our home hosts
These ladies opened their beautiful homes so that people could see what the homes were like in the best of times on Pinson Street. They showed that the Pinson Street homes can be as sophisticatedly beautiful as the homes on Greenville Street and other historic district in Coweta County. They were so gracious and everyone was made comfortable, so much so they didn't want to leave their homes.

The members of Mt Vernon and Zion Hill Churches, our church hosts
The church members made themselves available to tell of their church histories and were very informative. Mt. Vernon is the oldest AA Baptist church in Coweta County, built in 1899. The Alliance will be assisting them to get the church on the National Register of Historic Places along with Newnan Chapel the oldest AA church in Coweta, built in 1848.
AAA construction VP Anthony Green
He supervised the volunteer camera crew taping the tour. As usual he did a very professional job. We will let you know when they are ready for sale. This project is very important for the future of AAA and future projects.

Synetta Williams, ITC student and CEC students
Taped the tour and will edit it for distribution.

Members Wallene Jones and Elizabeth Beers took the tour and gave constructive criticism that we used to improve the rest of the tours.

Dianne Wood
Manned the museum for the people to continue the tour by going by and seeing the museum and research center. About 20 people went there to "round off" the tour.

Brenda, Bernice, Jessica, Bishop White, and his son helped with the Friday cleanup. I thank them for answering the call for help. The residents of Pinson Street also did a great job before we got there. Also the city's clean up crew came along Friday afternoon. Our loyal Willie Boyd went through Saturday morning and did a quick walk through picking up the Friday night beer bottles, which was a great help. He was also there to help at the end of the tour.

Bernice Sutton, our in-house artist:
Her sketch of Pinson Street homes was used on the tickets and posters for the event. As usual she did a great job.

Larry Morrow, board member:
Larry is always quietly behind the scenes making things happen even without us realizing it. He orchestrated the video team. His company sponsored the printing of the flyers.

Banks Glover, webmaster:
He kept the event current on the website, along with our other news. The website is a very, very important promotional tool for the Alliance and his professionalism shows brightly. Everyone who has visited the site comments about how professional is it.

Sam Edwards, board member:
When called upon he jumped right to the need and incorporated the assistant of his staff to help with the poster.

Anton Alsobrook, member:
He put together the promotional poster and flyers.

The Museum's First Anniversary July 10, 2004

It’s hard to believe but the African American Alliance will be hosting the first anniversary of the Coweta County African American Heritage Museum and Research Center July 10, 2004. In the year that we have been open we have had over one thousand visitors, some from as far as London, England. We serve the community by providing a repository for local artifacts and our research rooms provide books, documents and assistance in family history research. In our first year our collection of local family histories has grown from a handful to over two hundred. Strengthening our local African American history base is essential to the history of Coweta County.

The Alliance and the museum have received many awards including a special state resolution by the House of Representatives at the Capitol. The Coweta County Commissioners has also presented the organization with a county resolution for our work in the community and the Alliance is continually featured in the Newnan-Times Herald, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and local radio.

There are several projects that are being worked on which will increase the visitation attraction to the museum and the county:
• Phase one of the Powell School, to be a school museum, is completed. The completion of this project will surely draw visitors interested in the history of education.
• The reconstruction of the Storey-Buchanan slave cabin, which was located on the property of the Buena Vista plantation, is in the preliminary stage. General Wheeler spent the night at Buena Vista during his march across Georgia. The information about General Wheeler, the plantation owner, General Hugh Buchanan (a civil war officer), the slave cabin and a slave, Daniel Jackson, associated with General Hugh Buchanan are documented in the local history book, The History of Coweta County Georgia. Professor Rebecca Bailey’s Public History class at the University of West Georgia, Carrollton, used the interpretation of the cabin as their spring 2004 class project and has provided the museum with an in depth report on slave cabins and related topics such as music, religion, and family life. This information will assist us in properly presenting this otherwise negative component of African American history with a more informational point of view. Our purpose is to educate the community about African American history, even the negative parts, however do it in a way that will present the complete picture, as best as we can, so that the history may be interpreted properly. Once completed this will be the only cabin of its significance this side of Atlanta and possibly in the southwest side of the state. The visitation potential is unlimited. We are hoping to begin the reconstruction for the anniversary and have a starting exhibit in the museum, which will allow our guests a preview of what is to come.
• Plans are being reviewed to expand the museum to provide additional space for a community room where we can conduct genealogy and other informational classes, renovation of the grounds around the museum building to include walking trails, history kiosks, seating and a memorial for the Farmer Street African American Cemetery.
• A short story film of Daniel Jackson and the Story-Buchanan slave cabin will be produced.

The upcoming first anniversary celebration will be our opportunity to show the one hundred plus attendees from our grand opening our progress, to express our thanks for the support of all who have helped us this past year, sponsors such as Georgia Power, and to invite a new set of visitors to our museum and research center. We will provide food and entertainment for an expected two hundred and fifty guests. Cargill Corporation is donating pork tenderloins and several other corporations are donating chicken wings, sandwiches, breads, and drinks. We will be serving Mrs. Perry’s watermelon ice cream for desert. We have invited our community and people from Atlanta, especially the museums, to attend and share in the festivities with us. Volume Records, Inc. from Atlanta will be present to accept applications for auditions which will take place at our Freedom Day festival August 28th; sort of Newnan’s version of American Idol.

The Freedom Day Celebration is to commemorate the emancipation of Coweta County’s slaves August 26, 1865. The Alliance will sponsor a three day celebration starting with an awards banquet at the Newnan County Club where Congressman John Lewis will be awarded the Reverend Welcome Sutton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Tuskegee Airmen will receive the Legacy Award. Other recipients will include State Representative Lynn Smith and the United We Stand youth group. There will be a full day festival at Central Education Center and on Sunday we will join the class of 1954 for their 50th Warner High School class reunion at Newnan Chapel Church. There we will present the church with the Religion Award for being the first African American church in Coweta County, built in 1840.

Our final fundraiser for 2004 will be our third annual Soulful Christmas Celebration scheduled for December 11, 2004. Last year the Ballethnic Dance Troupe, the largest African American ballet troupe in Georgia, came to perform for us. This year we are hoping to bring a big name gospel artist for the program.

Directions to the African American Heritage Museum and Research Center

I 85 South to exit 47 (Newnan, Shenandoah) Right onto Highway 34 West
Follow 34 West to sixth traffic light, just past the blue and white water tower (Farmer Street). Turn left.
Museum is on the right hill just past the ball park in fourth block. Across from Church.

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

History of the Farmer Street Cemetery

By Helen Bowles 2001

Local resident Bobby Olmstead grew up on Murray Street. As a child, the plot of land nearby was revered and an unwritten rule placed it off limits for play. It had for years been known as a "slave cemetery." The land held no markers, no one kept the property but still the story of it being a burial ground for African Americans lingered. Early in 1999, Mr. Olmstead happened by a City of Newnan crew preparing to make walking paths through the property. He told them they couldn't do that because the site was a grave yard. He realized at that time, this bit of history had been forgotten. Mr. Olmstead went to Newnan Mayor Brady, told his tale and convinced the Mayor to cease development of the land.

The City, in the spring of that year, hired an archaeologist, Steve Webb, to do a historical land survey. Mr. Webb's work was completed in July and he outlined a cemetery of 4.4 acres on which there were 249 identified grave depressions and several other possible grave depressions. This little heretofore unknown plot of land was now possibly the largest slave cemetery known in the US. The story hit all the wire services as well as the national TV network news and magazines. Although, without further investigation, it is impossible to tell who is buried on this land, the evidence in Mr. Webb's survey as well as local legend and deeds lends credence to the possibility of it indeed being a slave cemetery. At the very least, it is almost certainly an African American cemetery.

An 1918 map shows a Negro Grave Yard on the site and in later maps was referred to as the "Cole Cemetery" or "Colored Cemetery." William B. Berry originally owned most of the land around the present site. He was one of Coweta County's earliest settlers and largest land owners. Deeds show transfer of the land near the cemetery by Mr. Berry to Newnan Cotton Mills in 1888. One of the provisions of this deed was to preserve the right of access of "colored people to and from their cemetery." In a deed dated 1900, other surrounding properties were sold to Newnan Cotton Mills and reference again was made to a "colored cemetery." In 1962 the property was acquired by the City of Newnan.

One lone marker remains: that of little Charlie Burch who died at the tender age of three months in 1869.

Background on Burch family

Abner Robert Burch was born in March 1848 in Virginia. He was possibly the slave of Robert Simms Burch who lived in Coweta County in 1835. Robert. Burch is shown in the 1859 census as owning 19 slaves and in 1855 had 25. He was a lawyer and lived in Newnan, the 5th District.

Eliza E. Smith Burch was born in February 1848 in Georgia, the daughter of George and Isabella Smith. It is possible they were slaves of Dr. Ira Smith, an early Coweta County settler from Virginia who, in 1850, owned 54 slaves. George and Isabella had five children; Eliza, Ira, Walter, Fannie and Georgia.

Abner and Eliza were married in April 1866. Charlie was the second son of Abner and Eliza. According to the 1870 Census, their eldest son, George, was born in 1867. In the 1880 Census he was listed as being a railroad postal clerk. He went to Atlanta University and married Elizabeth Cox in 1893. They lived in Fulton County. Abner and Eliza raised a second child, Wilburn (Bud) Gay. In the Census of 1870, Abner was listed as a cook and Eliza as a housekeeper. In 1887 Abner established a restaurant on E. Broad Street. He later gave Bud an interest in the restaurant and it became one of Newnan's most popular eating places well into the 1930's.

Abner and Eliza owned a large piece of property between Savannah and Burch Streets in the Chalk Level community of Newnan. The house faced Burch Street and, at one time, there was a road from Burch Street to the cemetery. Abner and Eliza were respected and prominent citizens in Newnan having large property holdings and being committed church members and contributors or the community. There is no record of either Abner or Eliza's death or place of burial. A deed dated 1911 shows George to be A. R. Burch's sole heir and family history relates that Eliza died shortly after Abner.

History of the African American Alliance in Coweta Co GA

Cynthia Rosers joined the board of directors of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society December of 2000. In January President Natalie Helvie and Cynthia Rosers discussed the need for NCHS’s involvement in the African American community. After several meetings between the two it was decided that a committee would be formed to accomplish this, the African American Heritage committee.
February of 2001 a symposium was organized at the Carnegie Library building in downtown Newnan, by the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society President Natalie Helvie and board member Cynthia Rosers in which African American students from the Newnan High School’s Drama Department, under the direction of drama teacher Ms. Carol Newell, read several slave narratives obtained through It was free to the public and there were thirty-five people in attendance
During the month of April 2001 Chairperson Cynthia Rosers solicited corporations for start up operational funds for the African American Heritage committee and received donations of $250 from the Bank of Coweta and $1,000 from Newnan Utilities.
In May of 2001 Cynthia Rosers and Natalie Helvie of NCHS solicited the community to come out to a second symposium to organize an African American History Committee. There were nine people who attended the meeting held at Newnan Chapel Methodist Church.
Several meetings followed with the membership increasing with each meeting.
At the September meeting the need for the preservation of the memories of our senior citizens was discussed and an oral interview project was established. It was to be conducted in conjunction with the African American Heritage committee of NCHS and Newnan High School’s Social Studies Department under the direction of Teacher Steve Quizenberry. This project was the first in the ongoing efforts to document the African American history of Coweta County in recognition of the urgency of its preservation. The students conducted audio interviews of seven senior African Americans who were natives of this area. The interviews took place October 25, 2001.
One of the interviewees included Reverend Welcome Sutton, whose daughter, Bernice Sutton Poythress, joined the AAA and acquainted the group with a declining one-room schoolhouse in Coweta County. The school was built in the 1930's by the African American community and members of Powell Chapel United Methodist Church for the education of the African American children in the community. Ms. Poythress is an alumna of the school and acquainted with numerous alumni living in the area.
At the October 2001 meeting a new name was adopted and officers were elected. The African American Heritage committee became the African American Alliance, a program of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.
Serious interest in the preservation of the Powell Chapel Schoolhouse began at the November 2001 meeting. At that meeting AAA envisioned the potential of a school museum for the community and decided to assist with the renovation. An estimate of $50,000 was given at this meeting. There were discussions about obtaining a state Historic Preservation grant and getting the school on the national registry of historic places. A series of fundraisers began with a fish fry and craft fair which were in keeping with historic tradition, as Ms. Poythress told the committee that the original families used this method of fundraising to raise money for materials and supplies for the building of the school. $600 was collected from this event.
At this meeting plans were established for the first major fundraiser to be held December of 2001 with the raffle of a custom-made African American doll fondly named "Sadie Mae". She was crafted by a local African American doll maker, Tonia Floyd. Though retailing for $1500, Ms. Floyd gave a discount and the doll was purchased for $600. AAA sold 187 tickets at $10.00 per ticket which profited AAA $1270.00. The printing cost was donated by Quick as a Wink Printing. The proceeds were added to the working funds for the operation of the AAA.
At this same meeting there was much discussion about the financial status of AAA. Many members wanted to have sole control over the funds that was being generated solely by the AAA members. A separate checking account was preferred but was not possible since AAA was not a separate entity with its own non-profit status. It was decided that the NCHS would establish a separate line item to separate the funds of AAA and monthly financial reports would be given at each meeting. Chairperson and NCHS board member, Cynthia Rosers would have the authority to request whatever funds were needed for the operation of AAA.
The December meeting was a brief one discussing the sale of the raffle tickets.
At the January meeting Chairperson Cynthia Rosers explained that she had been absorbing the cost of office supplies and postage. A budget was discussed.
At the February meeting a logo was discussed and it was decided to offer a logo competition to the students at NHS. There would be a $50 prize awarded. Also at this meeting the need for AAA’s own “home” was discussed. The building at the Farmer Street Cemetery was brought up. This building was a three room shotgun type which could accommodate a museum, research center and offices for AAA. Cynthia Rosers had investigated it and the City of Newnan was willing to renovate and lease the building to AAA through NCHS since AAA does not have its own 501 ( c ) 3 certificate. The lease amount mentioned was $1.00 per year as the arrangement with the NCHS’s Male Academy Museum and the city of Newnan. In exchange AAA would provide the city with its first Black Museum and a place for further research of the Farmer Street Cemetery which is one of the African American Cemeteries in the city limits. This building will also service as a repository for the records that AAA is beginning to collect on the AA history of the county.
Weekly committee meetings began in May 2002, to prepare an application for the Heritage Grant sponsored by the Georgia Historic Preservation Division. Lynne Miller of the Chattahoochee Flint Regional Development Commission worked with AAA members in pre-paration of this grant which will help provide funding for phase one of the renovation process to stabilize the Powell Chapel Schoolhouse. Phase one is to repair and replace floors, doors, and windows. At the May 2002 meeting $50 a month was voted on for administrational charges.
At the June 2002 meeting the issue of AAA getting incorporated and its 501 ( c ) 3 status was discussed again.
The Heritage Grant package was delivered on July 3, 2002, a week before the deadline. The preparation cost was $459 and included 34 letters of support.
The Heritage 2002 grant of $13,500 was awarded to AAA and NCHS September of 2002. This grant is a 60/40 reimbursement type grant requiring AAA to match it with $9000. As bills are received at HPD they will reimburse 60% of the amount back to AAA Therefore AAA must have available funds to pay the bill when submitted. The school will be placed on the Georgia registry of historic places as a condition of this grant. This will be the first African American architecture listed as a historic site. Newnan has many AA sites and this is just the start to getting them all registered.
By Laws and Articles of Incorporation were adopted at the September meeting. Attorney Graylin Ward processed the application for the application fees only, donating his attorney fees. The state approved the application October 17, 2002.
A Fall Festival was held in downtown Newnan on October 19, 2002 by the AAA. This event helped to acquaint a larger portion of the community with the efforts of AAA to preserve the African American history of the area and to increase membership and participation. It also was used to inform the community of the Powell Chapel Schoolhouse Project and serve as a fund raiser.
The festival included 20 vendors, at $50.00 per vendor and a raffle of items donated by local stores. Entertainment was provided free of charge. Expenses included the rental of portable toilets, rental of a moonwalk for children and rental of stage and sound equipment. Total profit from this event was $844.95. This event was planned by AAA members and sponsored by Main Street Newnan under the direction of director, Linda Bridges, and assistant director, Lynn Yeager.
In addition to revenue generated from the Festival event, there was a major donation drive and the total donations collected toward the $9,000 matching portion are $4268.00.
A Soulful Christmas Celebration is planned by the AAA for December 21, 2002 at Wadsworth Auditorium in downtown Newnan to raise additional funds for the Powell Chapel Schoolhouse project obligations and additional operating expenses. Tickets will be sold for $10.00 each and a program will be printed for which advertisements from local businesses will be sold. The rental fee for the auditorium was waived by the city and some of the performers are donating their time.
As of November 2002, work has begun on the museum and history center which is planned to open in February of 2003 for Black History month.

Future fundraisers include an African American Tour of Homes, Jazz concert and a golf tournament.
A college fair and workshop is planned in February to assist graduating seniors with their college choices. Genealogy workshops, a Black History art show and participation in Newnan’s 175th anniversary are also planned. These are a few of several events being discussed as community projects for 2003.

AAA will continue to be affiliated with NCHS for support and guidance.

About Dianne, her work & fun

I am Dianne Wood, I have a Coweta Co website at

--I started it 5 years ago, in hopes of helping people find their roots. My main surnames are Ivey, Couch, & Hubbard. But of coarse it branches out to almost all of Coweta Co.

--My parents died my senior yr of high school. We grew up like most poor folks then, happy and contented. But not without conflict and heartaches.

--I married Terry Wood, and have one son, Andrew. But have had 10 foster children (none now) 140 cub scouts, and 58 boy scouts. Am still the Advancement Chairman for Troop 47 and the Assistant District Commissioner for Coweta District, Flint River Council Boy Scouts of America.

--My husband is from Greensboro NC, and is now in the middle of his mid-life crisis. He changed jobs, and is now a "Truck Driver". His previous jobs were: Corrections Officer 16yrs, Construction 5yrs, Teaching Red Cross Classes 2yrs. But I guess with my son 17, and my husband on the road, I have more time for Genealogy!!!!!

--I have been researching my family for 9 years, since my son was a cub scout trying to answer questions about his roots. I have been a secretary for most of my adult life, but also taking several other types of jobs because when my husband was transferred from prison to prison(as a guard), I had to change jobs also.

--We have been active in Boy Scouts for 11 years, since my son's first grade year. He is now working his eagle project, surveying and taking pics of tombstones and cleaning a couple of cemeteries in Coweta County.

--I have written Vol 1 and Vol 2 of "A Sketch of The William Washington Couch Family" a book on the Couch & related families of Coweta and surrounding counties and back to SC.

--My third project is a collection of deaths of Coweta and many other counties in Georgia. (you can look on the GAGenWeb and the American History and Genalogy Project site for some of my stuff.)

--My fourth project is an expansion of the "Inlaw" section of my books, because the Inlaw section is now 580 pages (front only). It seems as if I or my cousins are kin to everyone who was in Coweta before 1900.

--My fifth project is a booklet on the "History of the town of Grantville Georgia. Will include business and the genealogy of the residents.

--I now work/volunteer at "The Coweta Museum" official name "The Coweta County African American Heritage Museum and Research Center". And man do I have fun, what a dream job! I get to help people who have no idea of how to research or sometimes of who their grandparents are, everyday! Some people come in once and never come back, but some get addicted like most of us.

--I am still indexing and transcribing Records of Coweta Co, but with everything else going on right now, am a little behind on what I thought I could get completed.

--My son and I have taken about 20,000 pictures of tombstones, and are working on the other 150,000 stones of Coweta Co. Am tring to find all of the ones listed in the Cemetery Book done in 1986 by the Coweta Co Genealogical Society, and update the cemeteries.

--Don't know what else to say except, that I am glad I fell into genealogy, it has enriched my life, and I have met such wonderful people I would never have come across otherwise.

--Please go see our sixth project:
started to have a place for my son's eagle project pictures and work.

--And don't forget about Tribal pages, a new site for placing your family trees. It will open up to my page, but to see others, click on "Tribalpages" in the upper left hand corner of the screen, and then you will see a search bar at the top and can put in any surname. To get back to my site, type in "CowetaFamilies" in the ID bar.

Hi Y'all, glad to be blogging!

This is my first try at this, but thought someone would want to know what is going on down here in our little corner of the world.

I will tell you about our little museum next time, just trying to get my feet wet and see what this is all about.