Tag Archives: Athens

Ricky Wilson at Oconee Hill Cemetery-Athens, Georgia

Clarke County

Formed in 1976, the B-52s hail from Athens, Georgia. Ricky Wilson, the lead guitarist and brother of Cindy Wilson, grew up in Athens. He passed away from complications related to AIDS in 1985. His final resting place is in a family plot in Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, Georgia. The pyramid marker can symbolize a great deal. Here is a website with more info.

Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery-Athens, Georgia

Clarke County

Founded in 1882, Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery in Athens, Georgia was the first cemetery owned by Black community in town. Over 3,000 Black Athenians have been laid to rest here. From Monroe “Pink” Morton, a prominent builder and namesake of the Morton Theater, to noted quilt maker, Harriet Powers.

The Gospel Pilgrims were a benevolent organization started after the Civil War. One benefit the group provided was burial insurance. In Athens, the organization was so popular that by 1912 almost 75% Black Athenians were members.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Morton family marker

Judia Jackson Harris School and the Hawaiian Ha-le Club-Athens, Georgia

Clarke County

Some of you may know this building in Athens as the Hawaiian Ha-le Club. It’s one of the places the B-52s identified as an inspiration for their song, ”Love Shack” and the lyric, “Tin roof, rusted!” They mention it in several interviews over the years. More importantly, this is the only remaining Rosenwald School in Clarke County, Georgia. My research had led me to believe they had all been demolished. That’s the case with many Rosenwald Schools, the history gets lost until someone shares the connection. Originally called County Training School (a common name for Rosenwald Schools), the school’s name changed to the Judia Jackson Harris School. Judia Jackson Harris was an early Black educator who worked to raise money to build this school after the original school burned. Historic Athens recently named this as a Place in Peril. This school needs to be saved.