August 28, 2006
People who knew Barbara Thurmond say she was a rare individual with rare insights.
The retired nurse founded Blacks Against Black Crimes back in 1991.
The people who helped her bring awareness want to secure her legacy as they continue to fight black on black crime.
Barbara Thurmond was disturbed at black on black crime in the early 90's. It led her to form an organization to bring awareness to the problem...and despite her illness, she never left the fight.
Now, with Thurmond's death, others are left to carry the torch.
Blacks Against Black Crimes formed in 1991. At the time, Augusta had its highest murder rate ever.
97 percent were black on black.
Organization member Terence Dicks says he's seeing a mirror image.
"Actually, we are almost back to where we were," he says.
Barbara Thurmond, founder of Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc., found a disturbing trend back in the early 90's.
"We just decided to call it what it was," she said in 1997. "What it was, we were blacks who were addressing the epidemic of black on black crime."
"She was really concerned at the number of African American males and the rate they were dying," Dicks says.
And some say it is slowly becoming an epidemic again, with recent murders and violence on Martin Luther King Boulevard, Eve Street, Pepperidge, and a gas station shooting.
Inv. Richard Roundtree says all of them were crimes committed by blacks on blacks.
"Right now it's still a problem," he says. "We have a lot of violent acts happening in our community. Unfortunately they are within some racial structure."
"There are those of us who are starting to get the same feelings we got back in the 80's that there is something wrong," Dicks says, "that there are too many dead bodies showing up that there are too many shootings."
So they're picking up the pace once again, this time without Barbara Thurmond...the woman who left too soon, but never left anything undone.
The Sheriff's Department agrees that more organizations like Blacks Against Black Crimes are needed in the community to help with the fight.
Barbara Thurmond's funeral is set for later this week.