The Chattooga County Historical Society will celebrate Black History Month at its regular membership meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 9th at the Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Gore (see the sign just off  US 27 near Hunter Furniture).  According to Gene McGinnis, the group’s president, “This program will be very informative as we learn about Smith Knox, but will also be particularly entertaining.”

Smith Knox, the Slave Who Purchased His Own Freedom

The program has been assembled by Historical Society board members Maxine Mosley West and Linda Farmer Hawkins.  Ms. West will speak about the life and times of Smith Knox, a Chattooga County man who was born a slave, purchased his own freedom and became one of Summerville’s most respected businessmen.

Steve Strickland, past president, commented, “Smith Knox is one of the most upright and noble characters in our rich Chattooga history. Maxine West has accumulated a wealth of information about him and we are so fortunate she is willing to share it with the Historical Society.  Thanks also to Nell Farrar, who encouraged us in saluting Mr. Knox during her remarks at the 2019 Robert S Baker History Awards.”

Black History Month Featuring Local Performers

Ms. Hawkins will act as emcee for the musical portion of the program.  Local artists will perform, including the Chattooga County Mass Choir, Jeneal Johnson, Lindra Finley, Larry Anthony, Janice Foster, Brad Mosley and the Oak Hill Male Chorus.

These talented Chattooga County performers will portray a diverse group of musical artists who helped shape the twentieth-century American music scene.  The group will be channeling Mahalia Jackson, the original Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Ethel Waters, Sam Cook and singer/songwriter Thomas Dorsey, among others.

“We are so pleased with this program,” said Historical Society programs chair Reba Phillips Welch. “What a joy it is for us to meet at Oak Hill and celebrate its rich history.  I am very grateful to Maxine and Linda for assembling the program.  We invite everyone to join us for a memorable meeting and for refreshments following the program.”

Be a Part of the Historical Society

Meetings of the Chattooga County Historical Society are free and open to the public. Membership is comprised of almost 300 families, both from inside and outside the county. Family memberships in the organization are $20.00 per year and include a quarterly publication—and all are welcome to join.

Contact the Society at P.O. Box 626, Summerville or via email at