Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation
Goal: 30,000 Progress: 7,226
Sponsored by:

In the summer of 1963, 15 young civil rights activists (ages 12 to 15) were illegally imprisoned for two months.

They were part of a group of 200 people peacefully protesting segregation when they were hauled off to jail in Dawson, Georgia. The following day, they were shuttled to an abandoned, one-room stockade in Leesburg, Georgia - all without their parents' knowledge. There, they were held against their will for two months, without bedding, fresh clothes, sanitary products, adequate food, or working plumbing.

They were finally released after photographs of their plight surfaced, but their story quickly faded into obscurity. Now, 50 years later, these women are breaking their silence to bring awareness to the small, powerful actions of peace that have helped shape this country.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded yearly to individuals or groups who have made "especially meritorious contributions to the... national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." The Leesburg Stockade Girls sacrificed two months of their young lives by taking a stand all those years ago. Their contributions to the civil rights movement cannot go unnoticed!

Sign the petition urging President Trump to award this medal to the nine remaining women of the Leesburg Stockade, and to posthumously award it to the six that have passed away.

Sign Here

Dear President Trump,

We are writing to ask you to consider the following 15 women of the Leesburg Stockade for the 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom nomination:

Diane Dorsey-Bowens, Melinda Jones-Williams, Mae Smith-Davis, Verna Hollis, Lulu Westbrooks-Griffin, Emmarene Kaigler-Streeter, Dr. Carol Barner-Seay, Dr. Shirley Green-Reese, Laura Ruff-Saunders, Billie Jo Thorton-Allen, Sandra Russell-Mansfield, Annie Lou Ragans-Laster, Gloria Westbrooks-Breedlove, and Pearl Brown.

In April of 2016, Congressman Sanford Bishop, Congressman John Lewis, and Congressman Hank Johnson, all of Georgia, also wrote you with the same request. We believe in the power of the people to enact change.

The egregious treatment these 15 girls suffered during the summer of 1963 was a direct result of their peaceful protest against segregation. At the tender ages of 12-15, these girls were youthful, impressionable, and passionate about equal rights. They sacrificed two months of their lives in pursuit of these rights, and the physical and emotional ramifications of the events that transpired have stayed with them their whole lives.

They were illegally imprisoned in the abandoned stockade in Leesburg for two months, without proper nutrition, clean water, working plumbing, sanitary products, or bedding. Their parents were unaware of their whereabouts. They were finally released, quietly and without fanfare, after a photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee, Danny Lyon, published photos of the girls' situation. The authorities responsible for their imprisonment were never punished.

Now they are breaking their silence about Leesburg in order to shine a light on the influential actions of young people during the civil rights movement. Their sacrifices have remained unacknowledged for too long.

Only 9 of the 15 women are alive today, but we believe all 15 women deserve this honor. It is our hope that you, too, see the bravery and nobility of these women, and recognize their nonviolent methods of protest at such a volatile point in our nation's history with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

We believe that awarding these women this medal will help further the equality movement to address the problems that unfortunately still exist in our nation today. Thank you for your consideration of our request.


Petition Signatures

Sep 17, 2017 Patricia Chambers
Sep 14, 2017 Ian Whitelaw
Sep 10, 2017 Maurizio Slanzi
Sep 7, 2017 Diane Czar
Sep 5, 2017 Lens Lucas
Sep 3, 2017 Lillian Kraemer
Sep 1, 2017 Jaimie Pomeroy
Aug 28, 2017 Ashley Waller
Aug 28, 2017 Amanda Barnes
Aug 28, 2017 tammy bullock
Aug 28, 2017 Richard Han
Aug 27, 2017 Carolyn Whiting
Aug 27, 2017 Tara Spires
Aug 25, 2017 teri moana
Aug 25, 2017 Shirley Patterson
Aug 23, 2017 Louise Broderick
Aug 23, 2017 Sheila Massoni
Aug 23, 2017 Katrina Shawley
Aug 23, 2017 Diane M McCoy
Aug 23, 2017 Abigaile Wolak
Aug 22, 2017 John Langham
Aug 22, 2017 Emily DeWald We need more peace in this country and to get rid of the hatred, racism, etc. that is being spread. Guess what we really need is more of God in all we say and do.
Aug 22, 2017 Pepper Hines This is the right thing to do.
Aug 21, 2017 Nalia Li
Aug 21, 2017 Gil Hackel
Aug 21, 2017 GLENDA FRANK
Aug 21, 2017 gretchen starika
Aug 19, 2017 roxanne hewitt
Aug 18, 2017 Agnes Morks I highly recommend these young, brave women for the 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Aug 18, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 18, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 17, 2017 Ravenna Oakes These young people were heroes, all the more because of their youth and vulnerability. What they had to endure was unconscionable. Yes, award this to them!
Aug 17, 2017 Debbie Chapman
Aug 16, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 16, 2017 Paola Moretti
Aug 16, 2017 Christina Ferrell
Aug 16, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 15, 2017 Debbie Meadows
Aug 13, 2017 Donna Cosimano
Aug 12, 2017 E Pearson
Aug 11, 2017 Barbara Laxon
Aug 10, 2017 Dianne PunKay
Aug 10, 2017 Henriette Matthijssen These woman are innocent & have been through hell, give them their freedom NOW!
Aug 10, 2017 Jane Schall
Aug 10, 2017 Shelley Kent
Aug 9, 2017 Dona LaSchiava
Aug 9, 2017 Thomas Windberg
Aug 9, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Aug 9, 2017 John Horn

back to top

Touch of Silver Floral Print Mug Perfectly Balanced Tie Dye Long Sleeve Tunic
Share this page and help fund more food: