Welcome to Our First 400 Year Celebration of the Journey

Slavery/Incarceration to Influence/Contributions of African Americans

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About the FREE Workshops

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(Workshop Details Below)

Improving Law Enforcement

Constitution Policing – Lt. Eric Lohr Community Outreach – Sgt.  

Marshall McCoy,  Hogansville  Retired Deputy Police Chief                                     

John Pearson, Racial Intelligence Training - Sgt.                                           

Mark Cavender                                                                  

Officers will describe a brief History of law enforcement in LaGrange and discuss how these and other programs have guided the Police Department in fostering better relationships with diverse members of the community and the community- at large.

Inter - Generational Trauma

Dr. Kelly Veal, Ph.D LaGrange College and Zsa Zsa, LPC, LaGrange Housing Authority                                                          

Panelists will provide discussion and analysis of discussion and analysis of the trauma of the African American experience that has been systematically and biologically transferred from generation to generation.

Tracing our Heritage: The Slavers and the Enslaved

Cousins Karen Branan, Jackie Irvine, & Deborah Dawson

Discussion centers around a Harris Country family's roots, interconnected histories through enslavement times, and their newly discovered relationships to one another. Included will be a representative from the Atlanta Chapter of "Coming to the Table."

The Apology: Remembering, Acknowledging, Forgiving, & Healing

The Pilgrimage – Bobbie Hart/Troup Together; The Apology – Chief Lou Dekmar, Mayor Jim Thornton, Ernest Ward, Dr. George Henry; The Marker/ Calling the Names – Troup Together and local pastors.  (Deborah Tatum, Callaway Family member, will chronicle Austin’s story.)

Discussion of events preceding, surrounding and following La Grange Police Chief Lou Dekmar’s historic apology for the 1940 lynching of Austin Callaway.

Fact Sheet

400 Years – The First Celebration of the Journey: 1619 -2019

From Slavery/Incarceration to Influence/Contributions

LaGrange celebrates the “400 Years – The First Annual Celebration of the Journey from 1619 – 2019.” This national movement was established to commemorate the struggles, influence, and contributions made by African Americans over the past 400 years. The JOURNEY will foster relationships that promote unity among diverse peoples.  The ultimate goal is to effectuate positive change to reduce and eliminate the harmful forces of racism in our neighborhoods and the world beyond.  To accomplish this, a series of activities are planned to celebrate significant events that have taken place since the arrival of the first slave ship to America in 1619, to current triumphs, 400 years later, in 2019. Scheduled to take place in LaGrange, Georgia, October 18 – 20, 2019, the JOURNEY will include the following:

  1. Education 

  • Local School Districts in West Central Georgia to Participate in “Little Known African American Facts” Essay Contest

  • Annie Greene Exhibit at the LaGrange Museum of Art - Reception Friday, 10/18 Local African American history on view at Archives in downtown LaGrange

  1. Healing Through Education and Information Workshops – Saturday 10/19

  • Walk Through History – Annie Greene Exhibit

  • Oliver Greene: Photos & History of Troup County, Georgia Churches
  • Improving Law Enforcement’s Relationship with Diverse Communities – LaGrange Police Dept.

  • Intergenerational Trauma – Dr. Kelly Veal and Zsa Zsa Heard

  • Tracing Our Heritage: What Happens When Descendants of Enslaved and Enslaver Meet?

             Panel: Karen Branan, Jackie Jordan Irvine and Deborah Dawson

  • THE APOLOGY: Remembering, Acknowledging, Forgiving, and Healing – The Pilgrimage - (Troup Together); The Apology -(Chief Dekmar; Mayor Jim Thornton; Ernest Ward); The Marker/Calling The Names - (Troup Together); Representatives from the family of Austin Callaway will also participate.        

  1.  Mini Book of “Little-Known African American Facts”

  1. An Evening of Elegance Saturday 10/19 – The First Annual Celebration of the 400 Years:

  • Riveting Silent Auction  *Announcement of Essay Contest Winners

  • Entertainment, Live Music, Dancing  * Exciting Program & Speakers

  • Irresistible Dinner Delights by LaGrange’s Food Connoisseur

  • VIP and International Participation

  1. Faith-Based Organizations Sunday 10/20 – Music Heals The Soul/International Choir Concert

For additional information, contact: Yvonne Lopez, Coordinator: yholiday1226@yahoo.com/404-308-6005 OR

         Bettye Ludd, Facilitator: bettyeludd@gmail.com/404-401-0517.

Speaker Bio's

Monica Kaufman Pearson        

Monica Kaufman Pearson is the first woman and first minority to anchor the daily evening news in Atlanta, Georgia, where she worked for 37 years at WSB-TV.  She has won more than 33 Southern Regional and local Emmy Awards for reporting, anchoring and her Closeups celebrity interview show.  Upon retiring, she was honored on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by the bipartisan delegation of the State of Georgia for her years of service on and off the air to improve the lives of Georgia citizens. Since retiring in 2012, she’s stayed busy. In 2014, at the age of 67, Monica graduated with a master’s degree, Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. She now hosts a half-hour talk show at 6:30 a.m. every Sunday on KISS, an R&B station. 

Pearson is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the nation’s first black sorority for women. The sorority awarded her the Presidential Vanguard Award in 2016.  In 2018, the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA presented Monica with the Pat Summitt Inspiring Woman Award.  Monica is a member of The Junior League of Atlanta and Sisters of Promise of Susan G. Komen. She is a breast cancer and liver cancer survivor. 

Monica has received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Atlanta University, now named Clark Atlanta University; Oglethorpe University; American Bible University and a Doctor of Public Service from Young Harris College.

A native of Louisville, KY,  Pearson graduated from the University of Louisville. She is married to John E. Pearson, Sr., the mother of Claire Patrice Deveaux and step-mother of John E. Pearson, II.  

Dr. W. T. Edmondson

Teacher, Preacher, Pastor, Elected Public Servant 

Dr. Willie T. Edmondson is the son of Mrs. Arizona Thomas Edmondson and the late, Rev. G.F. Edmondson.  A native, lifelong resident of Troup County, Georgia, he pastors Bethlehem Baptist Church of West Point, Georgia where he has served for the past 36 years. Edmondson was called as Senior Pastor, in 2013, of the Antioch Baptist Church (oldest church in Troup County). Among other distinguished affiliations and accomplishments, Edmondson founded the Ministry Training Institute of West Georgia and in 2013 hosted the first Church Colloquium.


Pastor Edmondson graduated from Troup High School where he successfully organized the protest to maintain the name of Mrs. Ethel W. Kight at Ethel W. Kight Magnet School.  Following high school, Edmondson attended and graduated from a series of illustrious higher education institutions. And, in 2010, the Pastor graduated from Fountain International Seminary with his Doctorate Degree. In 2018, he received his PhD in Philosophy in Apologetics and World Missions from Jehovah-Jireh Bible Institute of Higher Learning.  


Edmondson, a Councilman for the City of LaGrange, has served the citizens faithfully for 20 years. Currently, he is a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer and the owner of Lakes-Dunson-Robertson Funeral Home. In the first quarter of 2014, the Pastor was appointed to the State Board of Funeral Service by Governor Nathan Deal, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board. 


Pastor Edmondson thanks God for every Blessing and achievement, considering his greatest accomplishment: the ability to LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY and to LIVE IN his personal philosophy: DO WHAT IS RIGHT.


Dr. Joseph L Green Jr 

Dr. Joseph L Green Jr started the 2019 Movement in September of 2016.  This significant movement is aimed at racial and cultural reconciliation. In October, 2018, he was Congressionally appointed to the United States 400-Year African American History Federal Commission. In addition to his significant historical civil rights service, Dr. Green is the head Pastor of Antioch Assembly (Harrisburg, Pa), a Facilitator of Cultural Intelligence Training and vice-president of the Interdenominational Minister’s Conference (IMP-PA).


Green, a husband, father and businessman, is married to Gwendolyn Green; and together they have four children and two grandchildren. Dr. Green is the author of several books including Kingdom Business, a book that discusses Race, Religion, and Politics from a Biblical Perspective, The 2019 Movement, and The Power of The Original Church.


Dr. Green is the founder of the Josiah Project, a mentoring program that targets teenage boys. The program teaches leadership skills, physical and emotional health, life skills, conflict resolution, goal-setting, and self-esteem development.


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