BLACK HISTORY MONTH PARADE & CELEBRATION
Due to safety concerns related to rising COVID numbers, the Black History Celebration Committee made the decision to postpone this year’s event, originally scheduled for February 12. This committee is comprised of Thomasville community members as well as City of Thomasville staff. The Black History Month Parade has been re-scheduled and will be held this year in conjunction with the Juneteenth of Thomasville Celebration on June 18 at 10 am in Downtown Thomasville. Click here to view the parade line-up or click here for the parade route.
Even though our February celebration was postponed, we were able to celebrate Black History Month in the following ways:
- A Black History Month banner was displayed across Smith Avenue.
- The City of Thomasville hosted a trivia contest on Facebook with gift baskets as prizes for the winners.
- Press releases, podcast opportunities, and interviews promoted Black History Month.
- Social media posts spotlighted local black achievers and business owners.
- The 2020 Black History Celebration Parade re-aired on CNSNext Channel 6 from February 3-11 at 9:30 am, 1:30 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm.
WE CELEBRATE THESE THOMASVILLE NATIVES DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH:
Secretary of Defense General Lloyd James Austin, III
Four-Star General Lloyd J. Austin III, a Thomasville native, was sworn in as the 28th Secretary of Defense on January 22, 2021. Mr Austin is the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense and serves on the National Security Council. He was responsible for U.S. military operations in 20 nations from Egypt, east to Pakistan and north to Kazakhstan. Gen. Austin was the 33rd Army Vice Chief of Staff from 2012- 2013. His remarkable career has spanned 40 years including service as Director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, Commander of Fort Bragg, and head of the Multinational Corps in Iraq second in command to Gen. David Petraeus. He received a Silver Star for the Iraq invasion in 2003 and is the first African-American to command combat troops. A 1971 graduate of Thomasville High School, he was commissioned an Infantry Second Lt. after graduation from the US Military Academy at West Point. General Austin retired from the Army in 2016.
Lieutenant Henry Ossian Flipper
Henry Ossian Flipper was born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia on March 21, 1856. He was the eldest of five children, born to Festus and Isabella Flipper. In 1874, he became the fifth black man accepted into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was often ostracized by the other cadets and had little interaction or support from the other white cadets, yet he preserved and became the first black man to graduate from West Point in 1877. He accepted a commission as second lieutenant to Company A of the Tenth United States Cavalry in 1878. He first reached Fort Still, Oklahoma, where he designed and supervised the creation of drainage to the “malarial ponds,” which saved hundreds of enlisted lives. To this day, Flipper’s Ditch still operates and has been a historic landmark since 1977. Also in 1977, the Henry O. Flipper Award was created at West Point and is presented to the graduating cadet who exhibits “leadership, self-discipline, and perseverance in the face of unusual circumstances.” Lt. Henry Flipper’s remains are interred at the Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper Historic Cemetery, located at 804 North Madison Street.
Charlie Ward, Jr.
1993 Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, Jr. is a native of Thomasville and graduate of Thomas County Central High School.
After he graduated from Florida State University, Ward by-passed the NFL and played professional basketball for the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets before retiring in 2005. His Heisman Trophy, earned playing quarterback for the Seminoles, is on display at the Thomas County Public Library.