|Posted by OPOAA on July 13, 2011 at 1:42 PM|
George Washington Carver State Park
Submitted by: Charles Atkinson, George Washinton Carver State Park was the First Negro State Park in Georgia, and that, January 5,is George Washington Carver Recognition Day. *This information is derived from the website of The Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites, written by Billy Townsend, State of Georgia Chief Historian (ret). Although Georgia has the oldest public recreation area in the nation (Indian Springs deeded to Georgia in 1825), it wasn't until 1950 that Georgia had its first Negro State Park. It is also the only State Park in Georgia to ever be named for an African American.
Update by : C.H. Atkinson- 1/21/08 A DAY AT CARVER PHOTOGRAPHS
In 1950, Atlanta resident and former Tuskegee Airman John Loyd Atkinson Sr. was instrumental in establishing George Washington Carver State Park (1950-1975), the state’s only park ever named for an African American. Carver was a brilliant inventor and chemist who helped the devastated farming community and spurred the South’s peanut industry and was awarded the Roosevelt Medal in 1939 for saving southern agriculture. Atkinson had leased the 345 acres (1.4 km² adjacent to Red Top Mountain Park from the Corps of Engineers with the intention of establishing a private resort for Blacks, like American Beach in Florida. Governor Herman Talmadge helped establish the park and assimilate it into Red Top Mountain State Park, although operated and maintained separately. Atkinson became the park superintendent, the first African-American park manager in the state, serving from 1950 to 1958. James Clarence Benham Sr. , father of the first African American on the Georgia Supreme Court, Justice Robert Benham, became Carver Parks’s second park manager, serving for three years.