Conference in Tuskegee seeks oral histories of racial violence from Lowndes County residents and others

Published 2:03 pm Friday, May 19, 2017

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Residents of Lowndes County and others who knew someone who was killed due to racial violence between the years 1930-1970 are being sought for the Resurrecting Their Stories Project (RTS).

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The oral histories will be collected on Saturday, June 10. But participation should be confirmed by June 2.

According to Josephine Bolling McCall of The Elmore Bolling Foundation, “The Resurrecting Their Stories Project (RTS) will collect oral histories and historical material relating to racial violence in Southeast Alabama between 1930 and 1970.  These oral histories will be made available online to the public for historical study.”

She said, “The principal convener of the RTS project is the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law.  Collaborating entities are The Elmore Bolling Foundation, the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site of the National Park Service, Tuskegee University Archives and the Alabama NAACP.”

According to information provided by McCall, anyone interested in sharing their stories, their photographs and other materials or participating in an oral interview on Saturday, June 10 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. should please contact: Dr. Rhonda Jones, CRRJ, at 617-373- 3495, or Victoria Rothbaum, The Elmore Bolling Foundation, at 781-820-0082, by Friday, June 2.

McCall is the daughter of Elmore Bolling, a black entrepreneur and philanthropist from Lowndesboro, who she said had successful business interests that led to him being killed at the age of 39 on Dec. 4, 1947, Bolling is listed among the Alabama Martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement.

Bolling is remembered by Lowndes County residents as a man who never learned to read and write, but who was a trailblazer in diversified farming who became a farmer, livestock owner, trucker and transporter.  He had a general store and service station on U.S. 80, which provided space for social events.

He is also remembered for his generosity to others.

McCall is also the author of the book “The penalty for Success: My Father Was Lynched in Lowndes County, Alabama.

According to a Dec. 7, 1947 newspaper account, Bolling was shot six times in the front and once in the back and left lying in a ditch.

McCall said, a conference will be held at the Kellogg Center located on the campus of Tuskegee University, Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10 during which a forum is scheduled for Friday evening. And on Saturday, she said the program will include pertinent sessions and the interviewing of victims and/or families who have experienced racial terror.

She stressed, “This is a free conference and is open to all races, creeds, and colors.”