The “Stolen Girls” of Americus, Georgia (1963)

0 Posted by - January 23, 2022 - Injustices, LATEST POSTS

In Americus, Georgia as in other parts of the South, young people were fired up by meetings at local Black churches. They had become faithful foot soldiers of the civil rights movement. Many had already taken part in sit-ins, protests and picketing at segregated public library and the local courthouse, and voter registration drives were plentiful in the early 1960s.

stolen girls

In July 1963, approximately two hundred African-American youth met in downtown Americus to peacefully protest local segregation. Police eventually moved in to arrest the young protestors after sanctioning violent attacks by a white mob.

Many of the protestors were released shortly after being arrested, however, thirty-three young black girls found themselves held in an abandoned Civil War-era prison for two months. The group of girls became known as the “Stolen Girls.”

The youngest girl arrested and kept jailed was ten-years-old and the oldest was sixteen. They were arrested and kept without their parents being notified and transferred to the “Leesburg Stockade,” twenty miles outside of their hometown. The young girls were not fed for two days and survived the following days on rations of undercooked hamburgers and egg sandwiches provided by jailers. Sleeping on dirty mattresses and without a working toilet, the girls shared their space with mosquitoes, gnats, and, on one occasion, a snake was thrown into the room by the guards.

SNCC photographer Danny Lyon finally located the girls after searching for  weeks throughout the region; he alerted community members. once they were found. In the ultimate indignity, parents later received a bill with a charge of two dollars for every day their child was imprisoned. Many of the Stolen Girls continued to be active in the Sumter County Movement after escaping the Leesburg Stockade but received little recognition of their struggles.




  • Richard J. McCollough, M.Ed. September 21, 2017 - 9:51 pm

    Richard J. McCollough is Producer/Director/Videographer/Writer/Editor of a number of insightful documentaries including the landmark civil rights documentary “Lulu and the Girls of Americus, Georgia 1963”. Travis W. Lewis was Co-Producer/Director

    Please visit Keyword Richard J. McCollough…… ….. and go to Google Keyword Richard J. McCollough for more information.

    One of my proudest professional moments, thus far, the premiere of “Lulu and the Girls of Americus, Georgia 1963”, a film I was Producer/Director/Videographer/Writer/Editor on. Travis W. Lewis (Co-Producer/Director) and Lulu Westbrooks Griffin. I have now been honored with over 40 National/International Awards, but “Lulu” was very close to my heart.

  • Tanya Washington June 20, 2018 - 5:16 pm

    Mr. McCollough I am Director of the John Lewis Fellowship Program and our fellows visited the Leesburg Stockade last summer and met with 2 of the young women who were held captive there. Dr. Carol Seay and Dr. Shirley Reese. We will be visiting the site again this year. I also had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Danny Lyon in preparation for a keynote address that I delivered in March 2018 in Leesburg memorializing the event and acknowledging the courageous women who survived it. Our 1 month fellowship program, named after Congressman Lewis (who dispatched his roommate Danny Lyons to photograph the girls) is held in Atlanta GA. It is a collaboration between Humanity in Action and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and it is funded by the Mellon Foundation. I would like to show your documentary in our program and I’ve invited several of the stockade girls to participate. Unfortunately, Ms. Griffin is not available on July 27 when we would like to do the screening. The screening would be held at the historic Auburn Research Library in downtown Atlanta and we would do a reception in advance of the movie and a discussion with the women available following the film. Would you allow us to show the film? Is there a licensing fee? Thank you for considering the request!

  • Carolyn Oliver-Fair D.SM October 24, 2018 - 2:16 pm

    I, Executive Director of The North Jersey Chapter National Action Network, along with one of my North Jersey Chapter National Action Network Executive Board Members Pastor Bernadine Byrd,
    will be speaking at a local, state and national Press Conference Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 @1:00PM. We MUST let the world know of these egregious acts of the Jim Crow south. These ladies are to be respected and revered. Their part in The Civil Rights Movement is untold history.

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