The annual Economic Opportunity Authority’s Martin Luther King Jr. Observance, its 43rd, got by us last week but it deserves recognition.
Each year Executive Director John Finney and his staff select a group of Savannahians whose efforts contributed to making the town a more equal and pleasant place to live and work. This year those recipients were:
* Savannah attorneys James Pannell and Brooks Stillwell who received the James T. Deason Award named for the late veteran EOA employee who worked across racial lines with Viola Bell. “He just could work with everybody,” Finney said.
Pannell, a practicing attorney and former state legislator was active in reorganizing the Chatham Area Transit Authority, and establishing the Chatham-Savannah Youth Futures Authority and the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless.
Stillwell, a Savannah alderman from 1974-1991 and former chairman of the Chatham County Board of Elections also has been active in the Historic Savannah Foundation and other groups here. He is currently Savannah’s city attorney.
* The late Ben Clark who received the W.W. Law Award for his work in civil rights efforts here.
* The late Samuel Truell who received Earl M. Jones Award named for another late EOA official who worked to advance fair play and equal employment policies.
* Julian Smiley and William Smart who received the Ralph Mark Gilbert Award to recognize people who stand out amidst conflict to promote social change.
Finney said the two, teammates on the Savannah High School football team in 1963 when the school was integrated by a group of black students, stood out together when “they could have been fighting.”
Submitted by Jan Skutch on Fri, 2015-01-23 09:22