National Freedom Day

National Freedom Day is official held on February 1st, but we decided to highlight the importance of African Americans and their contribution to the day. President Harry S. Truman signed the legislation into law on June 30, 1948 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery on the 1st of February 1865. This law was subsequently ratified by the required three-fourths of the states. Georgia was the 27th of the then 38 states to ratify clearing the required supermajority mark on December 6, 1865.

That is not the only Georgia connection to this historic event. This commemoration came about largely due to the efforts of Major Richard Robert Wright, Sr., a former slave born in a log cabin near Dalton, Georgia. From these humble beginnings, he rose to become an Army officer, an educator, and a successful banker. Commissioned as a Major by President William McKinley in 1898, Wright was the first African American Army paymaster and was the highest ranking African American officer during the Spanish American War. Wright was also the first president of what is now Savannah State University.

National Freedom Day preceded Black History Month, initiated in 1926 but not officially recognized until the 1976 Bicentennial. Black History Month itself was a result of the efforts of Harvard educated historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who established the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in 1915. He selected February for this tribute as it contained the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Appropriately, “African Americans in Times of War” is the ASALH African American History Month theme during the 2018 World War I Centennial year.

This is, of course, the theme every February for the U.S. Army as it pays tribute to black Soldiers and their service and sacrifice from the Revolution to the present day. For example, Crispus Attucks, a black stevedore, is believed to be the first American killed during the Boston Massacre in the early days of the impending Revolution, and over 5,000 black Soldiers would fight during this Nation’s first war. This number included the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, which participated in the nighttime assault with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets to capture the key Redoubt 10 at the decisive battle of Yorktown.

Significant African American contributions continued in every subsequent war. Two battalions participated in the critical Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. In the Civil War, roughly 186,000 served in uniform, including the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, immortalized in the movie Glory. Many subsequently joined the famed “Buffalo Soldiers” (9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments) to fight in the Indian Campaigns and then again in the Spanish American War in 1898. Few people realize that at the famous Battle of San Juan Hill, the 10th Cavalry and the 24th Infantry played the leading roles and were first to the top–not Teddy Roosevelt and the “Rough Riders.” One young lieutenant in the 10th would become famous in another war, General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing.

World War I saw the 369th Infantry become the first all-black combat formation to arrive in France. Labelled the “Hellfighters” by the Germans, the unit spent 191 days in the line and suffered 33% combat casualties but never had a man captured or lost a foot of ground. World War II had its own famous all-black units including the 78th Tank Battalion (today the 64th Armor Regiment) and, of course, the Tuskegee Airmen. Less well known are the heroic actions of the black field artillery units who fought beside the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne, earning a Presidential Unit Citation in the process.

On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order initiating full integration of the Armed Forces, and, in October of 1951, the last all black combat unit, the 24th Infantry Regiment, was disbanded. Of note, these actions preceded major civil rights legislation by over a decade.

Today, the percentage of African Americans in the U.S. Army (22%) is almost twice their percentage of the service eligible US population (13%) and, their achievements are manifest. Among their ranks are a number of full four-star general officers including GEN Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, as well as several who served as Secretary of the Army. Most tellingly, eighty nine have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. Few groups have better demonstrated by their actions the Army Values, especially Loyalty, Selfless Service, Honor, and Personal Courage, while overcoming extreme adversity. Perhaps the determination of these American Citizens is best captured in the 9th and 10th Cavalry regimental mottos: “We Can, We Will”… “Ready and Forward.”

Happy International Book Giving Day Blog

Books are the gateway to understanding the world around us. Whether that be through a history book or Harry Potter, there is something that can be learned from these stories. In our formative years, it is essential for us to have these stories to learn, fantasize, and grow. However, many children do not have the same access or encouragement to read as others do. This sparked the creation of International Book Giving Day.

International Book Giving Day originated in the United Kingdom and has spread across the world. On this day, people are encouraged to share the power of reading. Participants do this through sharing their favorite books and stories by giving them to someone else.

Interested in giving a book or two? We have a few ways that you can participate locally in International Book Giving Day.


  1. Donating books to a Free Little Library
    1. Ever see a little birdhouse full of books? These are Free Little Libraries! They are places where you can take a book and, in turn, give a book back to keep it stockpiled. There are many of these set up in public spaces that you can find in towns and cities across the globe. Looking for one in Dahlonega? Go to the Conner Memorial Garden across from Shenanigan’s and exchange a book or two!
  2. Book Collection/Recycling Programs
    1. There are also many programs that are both local and international that you can donate to. These programs donate books to people that may not have access to libraries or other places where you can get books. Programs that the organizers suggest are Room to Read, The Book Bus, and First Book.
  3. Donate to someone you know
    1. Want to do something more personal? Then you can just go to your closest friend or family member and give them the opportunity to read something new. This will help to learn something new about the world around them and get them excited about reading.

International Book Giving Day is on February 14th, or Valentines Day! Share your love of books by sharing one of your favorites. Use some of our tips above on how you can share your favorite novels. Got any more ways that you think people could share reading to the next generation? Comment your strategy in the comments or tell us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Interview with Librarians

This month is Library Lovers’ Month, so let’s shift the focus to the masterminds of the library: the librarians! Librarians are a major part of the library, and without them, we wouldn’t know where anything was or where to begin to look! The Press visited the Lumpkin County Library and interviewed the librarians, giving them the moment in the spotlight they deserve.

Pam Morris

How long have you worked at the Lumpkin County 


I’ve worked here for one year and seven months!

What’s your favorite book or author?

Oh, that’s a hard one. I don’t have a specific favorite book, but my favorite genre is nonfiction.

What’s your favorite part about being a librarian?

Everyone I’ve worked with is amazing. This is the best place I’ve ever worked!

Where is your favorite place to read?

Outside! I love being outside because there aren’t as many distractions, and I enjoy the fresh air.


Zoey Fleck

How long have you worked at the Lumpkin County Library?

About four years now!

What’s your favorite book or author?

Haruki Murakami. His books transport you in another world!

What’s your favorite part about being a librarian?

When I can find a book that can inspire others, and help find what they are looking for.

Where is your favorite place to read?

I’m a homebody, so in my house in my pink chair with a cup of tea.


Andrea Tucker

How long have you worked at the Lumpkin County Library?

Four, around five years. Time is hard to keep up with.

What’s your favorite book or author?

It completely depends on my mood. I flip in between fiction and nonfiction. As a fun read, I like urban fantasy,

and I also like Kevin Hearne. He is really clever and funny in his writing.

What’s your favorite part about being a librarian?

My favorite part is feeling like I’m making a difference in the future generations of Lumpkin County residents.

Where is your favorite place to read?

I love being outside, so I like to sit and read on the little park bench at the front of my house. If it’s not too hot, of course!


Agnes Gore

How long have you worked at Lumpkin County Library?

I’ve worked here since 2014!

What’s your favorite book?

The Martian by Andy Weir. It really grabbed my attention. It’s very science heavy, and the characters drew me in from the start and didn’t let go.

What’s your favorite part about being a librarian?

My favorite part is how many people I get to interact with and help them on a daily basis. There are so many people who need help, and I’m just glad to help them.

Where is your favorite place to read?

In bed because it’s just cozy, especially with a cup of tea!

“New Army Officer’s Survival Guide” Official Release!

It’s official: the New Army Officer’s Survival Guide is out now!

Combining dozens of resources into a single and easily readable volume a cadet or junior officer can carry with them, the New Army Officer’s Survival Guide: Cadet to Commission through Command aids junior officers’ success by blending in Levi Floeter’s first-hand experiences from over forty-one months in two separate Company Commands. He personally advises and covers many lessons that most officers learn the hard way.

The book’s structure provides an overview of Army ROTC, a detailed walkthrough of skills needed by Junior Officers across the Army, and some explanations of techniques and possible leadership styles or methods to utilize in common situations. Four Annexes wrap up the book for quick access and reference: Useful gear for the field and office; officer branch and Basic Officer Leader Course information; common acronyms and phrases, and a list of each Punitive Article of the UCMJ.

The New Army Officer’s Survival Guide: Cadet to Commission through Command (978-1-940771-40-3) is a 5×7 nonfiction paperback: the perfect size to carry about and throw in your bag as a reference. It can be purchased from the University of North Georgia Press at, Ingram, Amazon, and other major retailers for $24.99.

Learn more about the New Army Officer’s Survival Guide:

“New Army Officer’s Survival Guide” Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Jonathan Carr for winning the New Army Officer’s Survival Guide giveaway!

The New Army Officer’s Survival Guide: Cadet to Commission through Command (978-1-940771-40-3) releases February 12, 2018 from the University of North Georgia Press. It is a 5×7 nonfiction paperback: the perfect size to carry about and throw in your bag as a reference. It can be purchased from the University of North Georgia Press at, Amazon, and other major retailers for $24.99.

Can’t wait? Check out on our other exciting New Army Officer’s Survival Guide events: