In July of 1963, a group of young civil rights activists peacefully stood in line to buy tickets at a segregated movie theater in Americus, Georgia. Fifteen girls, ages 12-15, were arrested and taken 50 miles away to a jail in Dawson, Georgia. The next day, they were moved to an abandoned stockade in Leesburg, Georgia, where they were illegally held for nearly 2 months. The one-room stockade had one toilet (which promptly stopped working), no beds, no bedding, no clothing, no sanitary products, no toothbrushes, and the girls ate only egg sandwiches and undercooked hamburgers. To add to the terror, the girls’ parents had no idea where their daughters were. Eventually, the local dogcatcher, who had been tasked with bringing food to the girls, let them know the girls’ whereabouts.
The girls were finally released in mid-September, after another activist snuck into the stockade, took photos, and released the images to the media. The girls were never officially charged with a crime, but, to add insult to injury, their parents were charged boarding fees for their time in the stockade.
The injustices they faced have been largely forgotten to time, and the girls, now women, have not been given the recognition they deserve. Their contributions to the civil rights movement should be officially honored. Sign the petition to urge President Obama to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the nine living women of the Leesburg Stockade, and to posthumously award it to the six who have passed away.
Watch the video below to hear the moving first-hand accounts of the ordeal. >>Whizzco