Monday, October 17, 2011

Sons of American Revolution honor black woman for heroics during War for Independence

The news article below doesn't really have anything to do with geography...but the newspaper from which it comes is the Athens Banner-Herald. That'd be Athens, Georgia, not Athens, Greece. (Other US states that have a city named Athens are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and WIsconsin!

So here's info from Wikipedia on both of these Athens.

Athens, Greece
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece.

Athens dominates the Attica periphery and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent. Today a cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece and it is rated as an Alpha world city. In 2008, Athens was ranked the world's 32nd richest city by purchasing power and the 25th most expensive in a UBS study.

The Greek capital has a population of 655,780[10] (796,442 back in 2004) within its administrative limits and a land area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi). The urban area of Athens (Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus) extends beyond the administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,074,160 (in 2011),[14] over an area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi). According to Eurostat, the Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) is the 7th most populous LUZ in the European Union (the 4th most populous capital city of the EU) with a population of 4,013,368 (in 2004).

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, widely considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains a vast variety of Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of remaining Ottoman monuments projecting the city's long history across the centuries. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery.

Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1833, include the Hellenic Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy consisting of the National Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics.[15] Athens is home to the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, as well as the new Acropolis Museum.

Athens, Greece
Athens-Clarke County is a consolidated city–county in U.S. state of Georgia, in the northeastern part of the state, comprising the former City of Athens proper (the county seat) and Clarke County. The University of Georgia is located in this college town and is responsible for the initial growth of the city. In 1991, after a vote the preceding year, the original city abandoned its charter in order to form a unified government with Clarke County, referred to collectively as Athens-Clarke County.

As of the 2010 census, the consolidated city-county (including all of Athens-Clarke County except Winterville and a portion of Bogart) had a total population of 115,452. Athens-Clarke County is the fifth-largest city in Georgia and the principal city of the Athens-Clarke County, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 189,264 as of the 2008 Census Bureau estimate.

In the late 18th century, a trading settlement on the banks of the Oconee River called Cedar Shoals stood where Athens is located today. On January 27, 1785, the Georgia General Assembly granted a charter by Abraham Baldwin for the University of Georgia as the first state-supported university. Sixteen years later, in 1801, a committee from the university's board of trustees selected a site for the university on a hill above Cedar Shoals in what was then Jackson County. On July 25, John Milledge, one of the trustees and later governor of Georgia, bought 633 acres (2.6 km²) from Daniel Easley and donated it to the university. Milledge named the surrounding area Athens after the city that was home to the academy of Plato and Aristotle in Greece.

The first buildings on the University of Georgia campus were made from logs. The town grew as lots adjacent to the college were sold to raise money for the additional construction of the school. By the time the first class graduated from the University in 1804, Athens consisted of three homes, three stores and a few other buildings facing Front Street, now known as Broad Street. Completed in 1806 and named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin College was the University of Georgia and the City of Athens' first permanent structure. This brick building is now called Old College.

Athens officially became a town in December 1806 with a government made up of a three-member commission. The university continued to grow, as did the town, with cotton mills fueling the industrial and commercial development. Athens became known as the "Manchester of the South" after the city in England known for its mills. In 1833 a group of Athens businessmen led by James Camak, tired of their wagons getting stuck in the mud, built one of Georgia's first railroads, the Georgia, connecting Athens to Augusta by 1841, and to Marthasville (now Atlanta) by 1845.

During the American Civil War, Athens became a significant supply center when the New Orleans armory was relocated to what is now called the Chicopee building. Fortifications can still be found along parts of the North Oconee River between College and Oconee St. In addition, Athens played a small part in the ill-fated Stoneman Raid when a skirmish was fought on a site overlooking the Middle Oconee River near what is now the old Macon Highway. As in many southern towns, there is a Confederate memorial. It is located on Broad Street, near the University of Georgia Arch.

During Reconstruction, Athens continued to grow. The form of government changed to a mayor-council government with a new city charter on August 24, 1872 with Captain Henry Beusse as the first mayor of Athens. Henry Beusse was instrumental in the rapid growth of the city after the Civil War. After holding the position of mayor he worked in the railroad industry and helped to bring railroads to the region creating growth in many of the surrounding communities. Freed slaves moved to the city. Many were attracted by the new centers for education such as the Freedman's Bureau. This new population was served by three black newspapers – the Athens Blade, the Athens Clipper, and the Progressive Era.

In the 1880s, as Athens became more densely populated, city services and improvements were undertaken. The Athens Police Department was founded in 1881 and public schools opened in fall of 1886. Telephone service was introduced in 1882 by the Bell Telephone Company. Transportation improvements were also introduced with a street paving program beginning in 1885 and streetcars, pulled by mules, in 1888.

By its centennial in 1901, Athens was a much-changed city. A new city hall was completed in 1904. An African-American middle class and professional class had grown around the corner of Washington and Hull Streets, known as the "Hot Corner." The theater at the Morton Building hosted movies and performances by well-known black musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Duke Ellington. In 1907 aviation pioneer Ben T. Epps became Georgia's first pilot on a hill outside town that would become the Athens-Ben Epps Airport. Athens got its first tall building in 1908 with the seven-story Southern Mutual Insurance Company building.

During World War II, the U.S. Navy built new buildings and paved runways to serve as a training facility for naval pilots. In 1954, the U.S. Navy chose Athens as the site for the Navy Supply Corps school. The school was located in Normal Town in the buildings of the old Normal School. The school is now scheduled to be moved in 2011 under the Base Realignment and Closure process.

In 1961, Athens witnessed part of the civil rights movement when Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes became the first two black students to enter the University of Georgia. Three years later, a gas station attendant and member of the KKK followed black Army reserve officer Lemuel Penn out of town and murdered him in Madison County near Colbert, Georgia. This received national attention. Despite the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling in 1954, the Athens – Clarke County school district remained segregated until 1970.

From the Online Athens Banner-Herald: Sons of American Revolution honor black woman for heroics during War for Independence
Mammy Kate was a big woman. Some tales have her towering to almost 7 feet tall. She was a slave, the mother of nine children, and as legend has it, a heroine of the Revolutionary War.

On Saturday, Mammy Kate, her husband, Daddy Jack, and four others, including Mammy Kate’s master, former Gov. Stephen Heard, will be honored when members of the Georgia Society Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution lay wreaths at their graves.

Mammy Kate will become the first black woman in Georgia ever honored by the groups as a patriot of the American Revolution.

Austin Dabney, who fought at the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County and is buried in Pike County, was the first black person in Georgia honored by the SAR.

The ceremony takes place at 10:30 a.m. at Heardmont Cemetery in Elbert County, where Mammy Kate and the other honorees — Daddy Jack, Stephen Heard and Capt. John Darden — are buried and will be remembered in a ceremony. A second ceremony will follow at 2 p.m. in Stinchcomb Methodist Church in Elbert County, where patriots Dionysus Oliver and Peter Oliver will be honored in a similar ceremony.

The story of Mammy Kate’s heroics is based primarily on Heard family history, said Larry Wilson, a member of the Samuel Elbert Chapter of the SAR, which is hosting the event that is expected to draw SAR and DAR members from across the state.

“I don’t think the Heard family has any written documents. It’s all passed down by word of mouth,” Wilson said.

The story is that Mammy Kate rescued her master, Stephen Heard, in 1779 from a British prison camp in Augusta, where he was to be hanged, said Peggy Galis, an Athens resident who grew up in Elberton and is a descendant of Heard.

The late John McIntosh, who in the 1930s prepared a history on Elbert County published in 1940, quotes from an 1820 letter in the book that describes Mammy Kate as a “giantess, more than six feet tall,” and a woman who was of “pure African blood and declared herself to be the daughter of a great king.”

“Mammy Kate is one of the most remarkable figures in Georgia,” said Galis, who learned about Kate’s legacy as a child. “I’m so thrilled,” she said about Kate’s recognition for her heroics in the War for Independence.

Briefly, the story is that Mammy Kate, upon learning Heard was captured, traveled to the prison camp in Augusta where she volunteered to wash clothes for the British officers, a deed that gave her access to the prison and eventually to Heard. Given privileges not only to wash clothes, but to bring in food, she entered the compound with a clothes basket, secured Heard — who was a physically small man — in the basket and carried him outside the prison, according to Galis.

Heard, who was grateful for the woman’s ingenuity and bravery, gave Mammy Kate her freedom, along with some land, but she insisted on staying at the Heardmont plantation, Galis said. Kate and Daddy Jack are both buried within the rock walls of the Heardmont Cemetery.

While written documents on the actual rescue do not exist from the 1700s, this is not surprising. Galis said, as few things were recorded during those days. For example, the Hargett Library at the University of Georgia, which houses historical documents, has only one letter from Stephen Heard, she noted.

When Heard died in November 1815 without a will, his son, John A. Heard, administrator of the estate, created and filed a will in 1816 with the courts. Mammy Kate and Daddy Jack are each mentioned in the former governor’s will as drawn up by his son.

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