History Series Kicks off This Week

The Welcome Center is hosting a series of history lectures, with the first event scheduled for Wednesday on a civil rights advocate.

This Wednesday marks the opening night for the Norcross Welcome Center's new historical lecture series.

Taking place at 6:30 p.m., the first lecture will be "Southern Sisters: Building Bridges of Understanding During the Civil Rights Movement" by local historian Edie Riehm.

She will cover the life and work of Georgia civil rights advocate Dorothy Tilly and her group of Southern churchwomen.

"She was someone about whom I wrote in my master's thesis 10 years ago," said Riehm, who's also a doctoral candidate at Georgia State. Since writing her thesis, she's dedicated much of her time to Tilly: She's written a chapter about her in an anthology on women civil rights activitists, in addition to two other publications. Tilly also figures prominently in Riehm's dissertation.

With a career spanning from the 1930s to the 1960s, Tilly served on Truman's groundbreaking Civil Rights Committee in 1947, and she held annual conferences to teach women how their influence on children can help eradicate racism, said Riehm.

"Her story is one of love, faith and building understanding," said Riehm. "Her message was especially important during the tumultuous years of the civil rights movement, and it is still relevant today."

Riehm also helped compile and write "Images of America: Norcross" last year with local author Gene Ramsay and Welcome Center Coordinator Cate Kitchen, who additionally helped with the idea of the lecture series.

"Last year I did a lot of art openings," said Kitchen. "So this year, because we have Kudzu and the Nest now, I thought it would be a good idea to do some history and take it in a new direction."

Adding fuel to the historical fire, the Welcome Center recently completed the Norcross History Room and the Norcross Baseball History Room. Its opening reception is planned for mid-March.

Specific dates for the rest of the series haven't been set in stone, yet, but two more are planned to take place some time in the next three months. Next in line is Elliott Brack, who will be doing a talk and book signing on his 850-page novel "Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta," and Riehm will return some time in May to do a lecture on the Holocaust.

"Southern Sisters: Building Bridges of Understanding During the Civil Rights Movement" will start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Norcross Welcome Center, located at 189 Lawrenceville Street. Light refreshments and appetizers will be available. Call 678-421-2049 for more information and to reserve a seat.


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