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DHS BSU's application for MLK historic marker approved!

Update as of 11 am, Friday, Septemner 4, 2020:
 
Georgia Historical Society has officially accepted the application by students at DHS to erect a marker in downtown Decatur at the spot where Martin Luther King was illegally sentenced to a chain gang after being falsely charged with driving without a license 60 years ago. King's mistreatment by DeKalb County authorities was a key turning point in the civil rights movement, and its legacy shaped the community we live in today.
 
Want to support this marker, you can help by donating to the fund to help purchase the marker. They need to raise $5,000 for the historical society to cast the marker in bronze and support its installation. They hope donations will reflect Decatur's strong commitment to social justice.

You can donate here: https://decatureducationfoundation.org/MLKmarker/.
 
The page includes links where you can read about the marker campaign and our research. Huge thanks to the Decatur Education Foundation for agreeing to collect the money and make sure 100% goes to support the marker. Thank you to our amazing students and to all who supported them in this endeavor!
_____________________________________________________________ Original post:

CSD is so proud of our
Decatur High School's Black Student Union (DHS BSU) who have been working for quite some time on getting a historical marker placed that would commemorate the arrest and sentencing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This week, their application for that historical marker was accepted by the Georgia Historical Society.

Back in February, before the COVID outbreak, the DHS BSU hosted a historic panel of eyewitnesses to discuss these historic events that took place right here in Decatur, one block from Decatur High School. This panel shared their first-hand accounts of the events, helped to educate their fellow students and community members, and supported the cause for having a historic marker installed about this little-known piece of Civil Rights history that changed American politics forever. You can read more about this week's accepted application here:
Decaturish article.

Here’s the background information on the DHS Black Student Union's work:

Here in Decatur, just a block from DHS, Martin Luther King Jr. received a traffic ticket and was sentenced to a chain gang. The Black Students Union at Decatur High School is leading a campaign for the creation of a Georgia Historical Society marker at McDonough and Trinity avenues in Decatur. At this site in October 1960, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was sentenced to four months on a chain gang in a misdemeanor traffic case. The King family asked both 1960 Presidential Candidates, John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon for help. Only Kennedy and his brother, Robert "Bobby" Kennedy, answered their call for help. They intervened on King's behalf against the Southern segregationist Democrats to get King freed. After Kennedy intervened on his behalf, King and his supporters asked all Black Americans to change their votes to Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. Kennedy narrowly won the presidency days later thanks to the help of Black voters and this shift changed the way many Black Americans would vote in elections for decades to come, this pivotal set of events, elevated King’s national stature, accelerated the Civil Rights movement, and revealed the power of black voters all began here in Decatur.

The DHS BSU has spent months over 2019 and 2020 researching the facts of this case in preparation for the submission of a historical marker application. They uncovered essential documents, including the case files of King’s lawyer and rarely seen news photos and news footage proving when and where King was illegally sentenced, and putting the case in historical context. Th
Georgia Historical Societyat the King Center in Atlanta, the DeKalb History Center, Morehouse College, the University of Georgia, and GGeorgia HGeorgia Historical Societyversities. They also spoke to eyewitnesses who gave their oral histories on a panel at DHS in February of 2020.

The panel included the following eyewitnesses to the events of this story:
• Charles Black, who co-founded the Atlanta Student Movement at Morehouse and was inside the courtroom when King was sentenced.
• Dr. Roslyn Pope, who wrote “An Appeal for Human Rights,” the movement’s manifesto, while at Spelman College
• Decatur Mayor Emerita Elizabeth Wilson, who witnessed the treatment of King and later desegregated the DeKalb Public Library
• DeKalb Judge Clarence Seeliger, who defeated King’s sentencing judge, J. Oscar Mitchell, in 1980 and removed Mitchell’s Confederate battle flag from the courtroom.
 
To view the entire panel discussion, which includes historic oral history accounts from these eyewitnesses, visit the youtube video here: https://youtu.be/RvTsT7DjEO8.