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Cairo community speaks on vandalism of historical marker

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 8:03 PM EST
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CAIRO, GA. (WCTV) - Thousands of historical markers across the state of Georgia share stories of people from the past.

In recent years, however, a number of those markers sharing the stories of African Americans have been vandalized.

In Cairo on Hadley Ferry Road and 154, the Birthplace of Jackie Robinson Marker was struck multiple times by gunfire. Presidet and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) said it surprised him in a way that this hapened. Then again, it did not, since it’s not the first time this has happened.

“While we’re in the process of trying to tell these stories, there are clearly people who don’t like these stories. They don’t like what these historical markers say,” said Todd Groce.

According to Groce another marker at a Black church in Fayette County GA, was also destroyed in the same way.

“Whoever did this shot the historical marker, and then blasted the front door of the church with a shotgun,” said Groce.

Robinson’s cousin Linda Walden who still lives in Southern Georgia was outraged by the news. Recalling all the efforts and barriers he helped to break, and her want for justice to be served.

“For someone to do what they did is inexcusable, and I hope that they get prosecuted to the fullest extent,” she said.

However, others in Cairo said they believe the person or people responsible for this was looking for a reaction, and they don’t plan to give it to them.

“Silence sometimes is a greater weapon,” said Stephen Francis, the Director of the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club.

Francis said he was saddened by the news that someone would dishonor such a historical monument in the Cairo community. Like Groce, Francis said he also was not really surprised. In his efforts to continuing moving forward, and in his words, focus on the bigger picture, Francis said he will look past what has happened.

“Right now, I think the big pictures is to continue to uphold Jackie Robinson’s legacy by maintaining our integrity.”

GHS is looking for funding to help replace the marker.

The Grady County Sherrif’s Office said this is an active investigation, and a felony offense. Although officials do not have any leads for a suspect or suspects yet, he is hopeful that someone in the community will come forward with information soon.

According to Lieutenant Daniel Lindsay with the sheriff’s office, they are still working on piecing together when the vandalism took place, and are encouraging the community to come forward if they know anything.

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