Apr. 12th, 2017

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A "Hidden Figure": Rev. Bradell Allison-Martin

by Tony Lowe (with additions by Vernard Martin)

Sitting with her husband in a city council chamber meeting that was filled to capacity in Hogansville on January 4, 2016, Rev. Bradell Allison-MArtin watched as the first African American Councilwoman was sworn into office.This moment was lost on most, but her presence was spcial for a reason.

Rev. Martin, a local civil rights activitst and organizer, who worked alongside her male contemporaries in the 1960s and early 1970s to make our county a better place, departed life on March 28th at the Wellstar West Georgia Hospice in Lagrange, GA at the age of 75.

The recent hit movie, "Hidden Figures", reminds us that there are still untold human stories. So with word of her death on Tuesday, it is appropriate during national Women's History Month, March, to celebrate her life as a hidden civil rights figure.

After graduating from West End High School in Hogansville in 1958, she worked briefly as a school secretary in the Meriwether Conty School, but spent most of life self-employed as a seamestress. A skill that he explained was taught by her grandmother.

As the late Lucious Glenn and Harold Smith began to establish the West Side Voter League, a non-partisan political organization in Hogansville in the late 1960's, Rev Bradell MArtin was right there alongside them. She believed in the old saying, "a vote-less are a hopeless people". Thus, she helped push for increased voter registration, and sought more inclusive representation in government.

Rev Martin previously recounted to me some of their early mobilizing efforts in Hogansville and across Troup County to make it a better place to live for all. Once organizing African Americans in the cities of Hogansville and West POint, they moved towards lagrange, the county seat.

Efforts in Lagrange proved far more difficult due to opposition from elected officials and local mils, explained Rev. Martin. In fact, many African Americans interested in organizing were threatned with job loss.

They had to use a different approach. So, along with Howard SMith and Lucious Glenn of Hogansville, and Rev Jackson of the 1st Street Baptist Church in Lagrange, she expained taht they devised a plan to create a "social club", as a decoy.

The success of the "ruse" completed the establshment of a network of political committies county wide.

Still, Bradel was not satisfied. She later broke new ground by becoming the first African American woman minister licensed in the Lagrange district and could be found delivering the Word in all areas of west Georgia.

She leaves behind a devoted husband, former councilman Charlie Frank Martin, four children, Vardis Tryone, Vickye Lynn, Vincent Frank and Vernard Charles, three grandchildren: Cory, Lynnsey and Christopher and two great grandchildren, Colton and Royce.


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Vernard Martin

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