Austin Callaway: 76 years and we still can’t get it right

Published 7:41 pm Friday, December 15, 2017

Dear Editor,

This is to get attention of former Georgia NAACP President Dr. Francys Johnson, Troup County NAACP President Ernest Ward, LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar, Mayor Jim Thornton, the LaGrange City Council, City Manager Meg Kelsey and LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander.

People wrote letters at the beginning of this year, apologizing for the death of Austin Callaway in 1940. These apologies were important, but not enough. The reason we can’t get it right, we knew about his situation for so long. People who were involved have died and cannot be prosecuted. It seems “we the people” wait for people to die. Since those responsible for Austin Callaway’s death can no longer be held responsible, more is needed to move past this event than apologies. What LaGrange needs to do is pay restitution to the family of Austin Callaway.

Mr. Ward, get some courage about yourself and do the right thing for the Callaway family. I am quoting Jim Thornton, “Let me say this empathically. Justice failed Austin Callaway in 1940.”

The mayor knows that the city let, or allowed, this young man at the time to be murdered. Mr. Ward, you should know that it’s hard to move forward until we take care of the things that are behind us. Mr. Ward, the others and you need to sit down with the city manager, mayor and the city council and talk about restitution for the Austin Callaway family. This will help in the healing process, maybe then we can move forward in this matter.

Richard Kimbrough