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Letter to the Editor: Not a New Practice to Change Rules to Prohibit Acceptance of African Americans into Institutions

In a letter to the editor, the vice president of the Barrow County NAACP discusses a recent nomination to the Winder-Barrow High School Hall of Fame.

Dear Editor,  

We nominated Mr. Basketball himself, Mr. Jimmy Johnson, to the WBHS’s Hall of Fame because his 29.53 PPG scoring average is still the highest in Barrow County’s history. We thought that since Mr. Johnson was one of the many African Americans not allowed to attend the “Whites’Only” schools here in Barrow County, honoring his accomplishments would be a simple corrective gesture for us.  

Even today what is morally right is sometimes not as easy as it should be.  We tried to contact all of the committee members (Sonny Morris, Jason Austin, Sammy Hale, John Mobley, Kay Turner, Elton Lynn, Ben Arms, Kevin Black, Hal Miller, Phil Bradberry, Justin Grant, Al Darby and Jerrie Hulsey).  Most members never responded back.  Of the 3 members that did respond, Mr. Sonny Morris was the only person who understood the circumstances of the nominee. 

Athletic Director Justin Grant’s response was that he didn’t receive the nomination until I reminded him that he’d responded to me that he had.  After being convinced that he’d received the nomination twice, Mr. Justin Grant said to me that he had to check with the committee “By Laws”.  I got a very similar and even more disturbing response from Principal Al Darby.

Principal Darby not only referenced these hidden “By-Laws”; he goes a step further by admitting they need revision to exclude this African American male in 2012.

These are Dr. Darby’s words, “Currently our committee is preparing the written portion of the "Bulldogg Pride Wall of Honor" by-laws to reflect the current day wall of fame board committee position in regard to your request for representation to student athletes who did not attend Winder-Barrow High School. We will publish the revised by-laws as soon as possible on our school website.”

If the committee’s only hang up is because Jim Crow prevented Jimmy Johnson from attending Winder Barrow High School, (which was *established in 1956*) then why didn't this same committee have a problem honoring Billy Sheridan **(Class of 1955 from another school)** just last year?

It is sad but it is not a new practice to change rules to prohibit African Americans acceptance into institutions.  As a society we are much better than these actions reflect. We all know these subjectively applied “By Laws” were said “Good Bye” to a long time ago. How ironic is it that in 2012, our WBHS Wall of Pride Committee, can collectively allow the resurfacing of “Jim Crow” to deny “Jim Johnson”.

*http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us:2011/cdm/singleitem/collection/vg2/id/149/rec/2*

**http://www.barrow.k12.ga.us/wbhs/Billy_Sheridan_plaque_for_web-1.pdf** 

Thanks,
Barnard Sims,
Statham, Ga. 

The opinions expressed above are those of the writer, not Barow Patch. Barrow Patch will accept letters to the editor discussing current local issues. Letters should be addressed to the editor and not to third parties. All letters must have the name of the author and contact information, such as a phone number or e-mail address. Contact information will not be published and will be used for verification purposes only. Letters should express the thoughts of the writer. Copied content will not be published. All letters are subject to editing for length, clarity and factual accuracy. Barrow Patch reserves the right to reject letters that do not comply with our site’s acceptable use policy. Letters may be submitted via email to barrow@patch.com.

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