Every February and June, the City of Dublin celebrates the cultural heritage and contributions of its black citizens. Each banner that flies above the streets of our downtown commemorates the challenges faced, obstacles overcome, and strides being taken.
Submissions for Dublin's Black History Banners are accepted each year, and can be submitted by clicking the button below.
From earning Laurens County’s first commission as a notary public in 1916 to opening businesses on East Jackson Street and Madison Street, Hub Dudley built a flurry of businesses to meet needs of the black community. He provided employment, apprenticeships, and empowerment. In other areas of Dublin, he operated a saw mill, Dudley Cemetery, and helped fundraise for and expand Dublin’s Georgia Negro 4-H Camp. With the establishment of Dudley Motel, Cafe, and Amoco service station #2 on East Jackson Street, he provided food, lodging, fuel, and most importantly, safety to blacks traveling across Georgia in the 1940s – 1960s. The promise of safety and comfort attracted leaders of the Civil Rights movement like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Andrew Young, Maynard Jackson, and Reverend Ralph Abernathy. Dudley’s wife, Mayme, played a key role too: She was friends with Dr. Irene Dobbs Jackson, Maynard Jackson’s mother.
Samuel Moore, Sr.
Samuel Moore, along with his brother, Warren McLendon, Jr., purchased and organized the first school bus transportation system in Dublin, Georgia. A bus driver during the time of the Saxon Street School fire in 1975, Moore saw the principal of the school, Ms. Eula Jackson, attempting to escape the blaze of the fire through a window of the school. Mr. Moore, Sr., rushed to aid Ms. Jackson and helped her escape the fire.
Moore continued to own and operate several buses from 1953 to 2015, when he became disabled and could no longer continue operating his bus business. In February 2020, The City of Dublin honored and commemorated Mr. Samuel Moore, Sr., for his heroic efforts during the 1975 fire by re-naming Grady Street, which ran from Telfair Street to Smith Street, to Samuel Moore, Senior Street.
Emery C. Thomas
Emery C. Thomas was a Laurens County Farm Agent who helped thousands of African American farmers through the Depression and the hard economic times which still plagued African Americans. Thomas was one of those responsible for the establishment of the Georgia 4-H Club for black youth in Dublin in 1957. The local Red Cross sent Thomas to aquatic school to become qualified to teach first aid and swimming in the Dublin 4-H pool. Emery Thomas was a radio host to "Tom's Ag Show" broadcast from WMLT in Dublin and the owner of the Thomas Convenient Store on East Gaines Street. Four years prior to his retirement, he served as the first black member of the Dublin City Council.
The Emery C. Thomas Auditorium was named in his honor and still stands on the Riverview Golf Course and is currently pending nomination to the Register of Historic Places.
Rev. H. B. Johnson, Jr.
Reverend. H. B. Johnson, Jr. was pastor of the Historic First African Baptist Church of Dublin from 1967 to 1981. He added the fellowship hall to the main building which is still used today. He was co-organizer of the first Dublin-Laurens Black History Festival Committee, Inc. along with Reverend Amos O. Holmes. The Committee held its first Black History Celebration Program in 1976. The Dublin-Laurens Black Festival Committee, Inc. is still very active today.
Reverend. H. B. Johnson, Jr. was affiliated with numerous other organizations which included being a Dublin City School Board member and NAACP member. Among his many accomplishments, in the early 1970‘s he established the church’s Radio Broadcast Program that airs on WXLI-27 each Sunday at 11:00 A.M. He also organized the FAB Daycare Center in 1973, it remained in operation until 2013.
Rev. Amos O. Holmes
Reverend Holmes served as pastor of the Howard Chapel United Methodist Church currently located on Washington Street from 1954 to 1988. He rebuilt and furnished the church and parsonage. In 1954, he established the first daycare center in the church. He was involved in the labor movement in Savannah and in efforts to force open primary elections to black voters in several counties before being appointed Georgia NAACP field secretary on May 22, 1958.
In 1976, Holmes, President of the Dublin-Laurens Ministerial Alliance, along with Reverend. H. B. Johnson, pastor of First African Baptist Church, co-organized the Dublin-Laurens County Black History Festival Committee, Inc. to commemorate 114 years of Negro freedom. The first event occurred at Howard Chapel United Methodist Church, and later were held at First African Baptist Church. The committee started with a few days of events, which evolved into a week-long commemoration, and later into a month-long celebration during February.
Holmes died in 2004 at age 88.
William May, Sr.
Business of the Heart
William May, Sr. was one of Dublin's first entrepreneurs. He owned and operated a grocery store and soda shop in the Telfair Street District and in the Scottsville area on the corner of East Mary and Decatur Streets. He owned and operated his stores for many years. He was served as head deacon of First African Baptist Church of Dublin until his death.
Warren McLendon, Jr.
Warren McLendon, Jr. was one of the first black deputies of the Laurens County Sheriff Department. He served the citizens of Laurens County in that capacity for over twenty years. He co-owned the school bus transportation system for the City of Dublin and was instrumental in helping qualified blacks be elected into governmental positions.
George Wyche, Sr.
Owner and operator of the Wyche’s Funeral Home, located on East Moore Street. He served the Dublin-Laurens County community well.
Dr. Henry Thomas Jones
Henry Thomas Jones, Sr. was born on October 3rd, 1875 in Hepzibah, Georgia. Like many of his local colleagues, Jones attended Georgia State College in Savannah. Dr. Jones graduated on February 21st, 1900 from Meharry Medical College, where he was the first of his class to graduate under the four year program.
Jones began his practice in Dublin on September 23, 1901 and continued practicing until his death on July 29, 1945.
Henry Jones married Theodosia Hinton of Warrenton, Georgia. By faith, Dr. Jones was Baptist and served as a Sunday school teacher and a deacon of First African Baptist Church. Civically, Dr. Jones was a Knight of Pythias and a 33rd degree Mason.
John Wesley Pooler, Sr.
At the age of 21, John Wesley Pooler, Sr. served in the 92nd Infantry with the Buffalo Soldiers, the only African American unit to see combat in Europe during World War II. He served as a light mortar crewman; his job was to fire the 60mm mortar which was used for fire support for infantry, you had to be trained and skilled to do this job, not everyone could do this.
His service took him through trenches in Italy and woods of Germany. After serving in the military John Pooler went on the work at Carl Vinson VA for twenty years. In 2017, 13 WMAZ interviewed him concerning his service as a Buffalo Soldier. His children purchased a brick with his name on it that will be at the Carl Vinson Medical Center in Dublin, GA.
Mrs. Ruby Dell Jefferson, a.k.a Mother Jefferson, was born in Dublin, Georgia, on October 12, 1921, to Mr. Matthew and Mrs. Bell Thomas. In her adult life, she married Deacon Quinton Jefferson, Sr. of Danville, Georgia. They were the proud parents of ten children, five girls and five boys. Namely, from oldest to youngest: Annie, James, Quinton, Wesley, Maudine, Barbara, Gwendolyn, Brenda , Brady, and Gary.
In 1966, Mother Jefferson was named Parent-of-the-Year of the District Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of Laurens County and surrounding counties in Middle Georgia for recognition of her time (chaperoning and participating in various events) and leadership (launching fundraisers). For over twenty-five years, she was a stay-at-home mom to ensure that she spent quality time with her children. She asserted herself as a custodian of the community requiring her children to help children in the neighborhood with their homework assignments and take care of the elderly by running errands for them and doing whatever was necessary to make their lives more comfortable.
Demonstrating a passion for elevating, educating, and providing sustenance to the community, Mother Jefferson was afforded the opportunity to collaborate with agencies through employment to share her passion to the broader community. For fifteen years (1965 to 1980), sponsored by the University of Georgia Extension Service, she went from door to door teaching nutrition lessons to homemakers and providing them with healthy recipes. Her individualized instruction was impressionable; therefore, preventing potential diseases and promoting healthy well-being. In 1974, University of Georgia Extension Service recognized her thoroughly planned lessons and unprecedented commitment through the presentation of an award for Nutrition Aide of the Year amongst over two hundred and fifty peers throughout the state of Georgia.
While visiting and teaching in homes, Mother Jefferson observed children, preschool age, playing too much and watching too much television. Subsequently, she became interested in early childhood education to give underserved children a head start. As she witnessed housewives' knowledge of nutrition and healthy recipes manifesting through conversations at church, Bible study, grocery stores, etc., she realized employment was not a necessary platform. Talking nutrition became as common as talking weather. To say the least, she felt she reached the pinnacle of her goal to increase families' knowledge of nutrition and how to create healthy recipes.
Subsequently, in the next decade (1980 to 1990), Mother Jefferson gained employment with Dublin Headstart as a Paraprofessional. Over ten years, she recruited over three hundred children to the school. Her goal was that all children should get the opportunity to acquire adequate learning experiences that prepare them for school. For this endeavor, she was named the Paraprofessional-of- the- Year. Her passion drove her to establish the first Headstart in East Dublin, Georgia, which is located on Ruby Dell Jefferson Drive, named in her honor.
In the meantime, she served her community. She coordinated and sponsored transportation for senior citizens on a monthly basis to Heart of Georgia Community meetings to keep them abreast of community resources that could impact their quality of life. During her leisure time, she assisted low-income citizens with paying their utility bills, directing the homeless to the proper places to find free food and shelter, and informing the elderly on the correct processes to follow to receive assistance to winterize their homes. With the community's need in mind, she assisted the Catholic church in establishing the First Food Bank in Dublin, Georgia. On other occasions, she created political forums with citizens of the community to discuss the community's needs and issues and elect the best candidate for office.
Mother Jefferson served as a Crusader of Cancer (fundraiser) in the East Dublin African American Community, Treasurer of the East Dublin Development Committee, and served on the East Dublin Zoning Board.
In 1990, the Dublin-Laurens County Black Festival Committee named her Senior Citizen of the Year. The following year, Governor Joe Frank Harris recognized her with the Ambassador of the Community Award for her strong organizational skills and ability to effect change. Finally, Mayor George Gornto of East Dublin, Georgia declared November 16, her expiration date, as Mother Ruby Dell Jefferson Day of East Dublin, Georgia.
Mother Jefferson was a devoted member of Williams Chapel Baptist Church. She served as the legendary Mother of the Church and Chairmen of the Deaconess Board for over twenty-five years. She was instrumental in growing Williams Chapel to become a service magnet in the Dublin Community, spiritually, socially and economically. Rev. Dr. Eddie Lee Hixon is pastor.
In 2018, Gary D. Jefferson, her son, and the other family members established the Mother Ruby Dell Jefferson Foundation (MRDJ) which is a registered 501(c3) charity. In 2018, it donated eight bicycles and helmets to the Dublin Middle School. The students won them based on their essays on “Why Do I Deserve a Bicycle?” The following year, 2019, the MRDJ Foundation donated ten bicycles and helmets including a check of two thousand and five hundred dollars to the Dublin Salvation Army.
Nominate a visionary and dedicated leader that has made a significant contribution in the African American community through their profession or participation in Dublin and Laurens County.