Five area residents will be inducted into the Atmore Area Hall of Fame in April.
Billy Conn Madison, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee, released the names of this year’s inductees: William America, Earl Etheridge, Dr. William T. Hall, Howard Shell, and Eddie Staff.
The induction ceremony will be held Saturday, April 29, 6 p.m., at The Club. Tickets for the ceremony and the meal are $25 each. Tickets are available at Carl’s / The Tot Shop. Please note: Everyone attending must have a ticket.
Atmore News is featuring an inductee each week. (Information from the Hall of Fame Committee)
The Late William C. America, Sr.
Mr. William C. America was born on February 28, 1933, to the late Richard America, Sr. and Lillian America Golden. A native of Camden, Ala., America relocated to the city of Atmore in 1945.
Mr. America married Ms. Pauline Powers on February 17, 1951. Together they had six children. At a young age, Mr. America joined Mt. Olive Baptist Church where became a deacon and served faithfully in the choir. He was the founder and lead singer for a local men’s quartet group named the Southern Voices for many years. Also, Mr. America organized and promoted local and nationally well-known African-American Gospel artists in the greater Atmore area. He was instrumental in obtaining local advertisement and support to create a gospel radio program for African-Americans in Atmore where he also served as the community broadcaster for 105.9 Gospel Radio in Atmore for many years. Years later, Mr. America became a member of Greater Mt. Triumph Baptist Church where he served in the office of deacon and was a loyal choir member. Before his passing, Mr. America joined McCullough Christian Center where he served as a dynamic member of the choir.
Mr. America was the first African-American county commissioner elected to serve on the Escambia County Alabama Board of County Commissions. He proudly served a total of 12 years on the Commission, with four years as chairman. He still remains the only African-American to serve as chairman.
Mr. America’s service over his life time to the community of Atmore was outstanding.
Listed below are some of his numerous accomplishments.
Mr. America was instrumental in forming a citizen action committee to elect the first African-American city councilman in the city of Atmore. He led a coalition of Atmore citizens that included both African-American and white citizens to elect Mr. Eldred Pritchett to the Atmore City Council.
Mr. American was founder and president of the United Civic Club. This organization was influential in the restoration of Houston Avery Park. Mr. America met with city leaders and businesses to obtain funding to revitalize the park for young African-American children. He used his personal funds to purchase the Houston Avery Park sign.
During his tenure on the Escambia County Commission, Mr. America made numerous trips to Montgomery to obtain funding and state support to install water lines (mains) to rural areas in Escambia County which included the Robinsonville area.
Mr. American provided leadership and guidance to many community organizations, groups and task forces. They include the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) – Escambia County Branch, where he was a charter member and served as chairman; Escambia County NAACP; the first African-American to serve on the Atmore Community Hospital Board; Progressive Civic & Recreational Club (PCRC) where he served as president; and the first African-American to serve on United Bank’s Board of Directors.