Augusta remembers an angel: Barbara Thurmond

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September 1, 2006

The city has proclaimed September 1 a day of mourning on behalf of Barbara Thurmond and her works on behalf of the community.

Today, family, friends, and city leaders paid their last respects to a woman who spent much of her life fighting black on black crime and challenged the community to stand up.

Barbara Thurmond was challenged herself, but she did not allow her disability to handicap her life.

Former mayoral candidate Willie Mays and Mayor Pro Tem Marion Williams both called Thurmond friend.

"My friend Barbara was a person who owned a wheelchair, but that wheelchair did not own Barbara," said Mays.

"When she got ill, she still continued to fight to change the structure of the community as to what's going on," Williams said.

A disturbing trend was going on in Augusta during the early 90's, and it was Barbara Thurmond who worked to end black on black crime.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength calls her a friend of the sheriff's office.

"It was a great concern of hers, and it's a great concern of all of ours," he said. "I just hope somebody picks up where she left off."

"Because of her concern for her community, violent crimes went down and victim respect went up," said Rep. Quincy Murphy.

But there will be big shoes to fill. Thurmond leaves behind a rich legacy.

District attorney Danny Craig met Thurmond soon after she began Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc.

"They went to government, schools, neighborhoods and they went to the streets," he recalled.

"She did not allow her situation to take charge of her life," said Thurmond's cousin, Melvin Ivey.

"A few mornings ago our angel got her wings and just in eternity with her best friend the one who understood her and the one she never took her hand from," Mays said.

Even after her death, today at her funeral, Thurmond was awarded a National Victims' Assistance Award.