June 29, 2021, Savannah, Georgia – The Georgia Historical Society has announced the unveiling of a new Civil Rights Trail historical marker in Houston County recognizing The Jody Town Community in Warner Robins, Georgia. The marker was sponsored by the Georgia Historical Society, the Jody Town Community Reunion Committee, and the City of Warner Robins.
“The Jody Town Community historical marker tells the story of segregation during World War II and how the Jody Town ‘Plant View’ Community was created out of the need to house Black civilian employees of Robins Air Force Base,” said GHS Marker Manager Elyse Butler. “Even though urban renewal efforts led to the relocation of Jody Town’s residents, anyone can simply walk up to this marker located at Memorial Park to learn about the individuals and businesses that helped shape the development of Warner Robins.”
Speakers for the dedication included Ms. Shirlyn Johnson-Granville, Jody Town Reunion Committee Chair; The Honorable Randy Toms, Mayor, City Of Warner Robins; Ms. Margaret Sanks Grayer; Mr. Kal Daniels; and Ms. Elyse Butler, Marker Manager, Georgia Historical Society. Ms. Dorothy Johnson Tolliver sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Originally known as the Plant View subdivision, Jody Town was a segregated community for the Black civilian employees of Robins Airforce Base.
Through the development of churches, salons, schools, restaurants, and other small businesses, residents created a thriving community that also promoted extracurricular activities such as Scouts and recreational sports that encouraged community involvement for youth and families. With the end of segregation, Jody Town services became more racially integrated, and the community began receiving more money for upgrading public facilities from the City of Warner Robins. However, in the early 1970s under the Federal Urban Renewal Program, the city began displacing the original Jody Town community.
“Warner Robins has a rich history which includes many people from diverse backgrounds and part of this diversity derives from the Black families who were present in Wellston and those who came after hearing the news for the site of the new army air depot,” said Shirlyn Johnson-Granville, Chair of the Jody Town Reunion Committee. “One cannot accurately depict the history of Warner Robins, the state of Georgia or the country, without including the families who contributed to its growth and success…The residents of Jody Town and their descendants played an integral role in the development, growth, and success of Warner Robins.”
The Georgia Civil Rights Trail Initiative was established in 2015 as part of the ongoing work of the Georgia Historical Marker Program to recognize the rich diversity of our state’s past and focuses broadly on the economic, social, political, and cultural history of the Civil Rights Movement. This is the newest marker on the Trail.
The marker is located at the entrance of Memorial Park, 800 South First Street, Warner Robins, GA 31093. For further information about The Jody Town historical marker or the Georgia Civil Rights Trail Marker Program, please contact Patricia Meagher, GHS Director of Communications at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The marker reads as follows:
The Jody Town Community
Originally Known as Plant View Subdivision
The Jody Town community grew from the need for housing for “Colored” (Black) civilian employees at Robins Air Force Base during the segregation era. Military bases, constructed as part of the war effort for World War II, brought regional economic advancement and the shift from agriculture to industrialism. Black workers from throughout the Southeast purchased affordable housing in Jody Town, which may have received its name from the African-American blues character, “Joe de Grinder,” and the military cadences it inspired. Jody Town became the cultural hub for residents and Black military personnel, with churches, businesses, organizations, and recreation leagues and teams, such as the Warner Robins Jets, which played here at Memorial Park. In the 1970s, urban renewal efforts led to the relocation of residents and demolition of the neighborhood.
Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, the Jody Town Community Reunion Committee, and the City of Warner Robins
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL MARKER PROGRAM
The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) administers Georgia’s historical marker program. Over the past 20 years, GHS has erected nearly 300 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects. GHS also coordinates the maintenance for more than 2,100 markers installed by the State of Georgia prior to 1998. Online mapping tools allow users to design driving routes based on historical markers, and a mobile app helps visitors locate and learn about markers nearby. Visit georgiahistory.com for more ways to use Georgia’s historical markers and experience history where it happened.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
To learn more visit georgiahistory.com.