Update: Saturday's Black History celebration has been moved inside to the banquet hall at 1138 Monticello St., next to Plain Nuts catering, because of Saturday's expected rainfall. The event will still start at 3 p.m.
It took 46 years and the death of a former coach and community hero for the story of the 1965 men's basketball team at R.L. Cousins High School to become well known outside the black community.
But now that the story of the team's state runner-up performance has been told, the community wants to keep the celebration going. Members of that team and its coach, the late Jimmy Wright, who died Feb. 2, will be recognized at Covington's inaugural Black History celebration at 3 p.m. Saturday on the square.
Councilwoman Janet Goodman was in that class, so when Mayor Kim Carter approached her about hosting a Black History celebration, Goodman felt the 1965 team would be a natural fit for the first honorees.
The R.L. Cousins team made the state championship game of the Georgia Interscholastic Association, the black high school equivalent to the Georgia High School Association.
The inaugural celebration is being held on the square, because that was a prominent gathering space during the black community's efforts to integrate local shops.
"A lot of people remember the march of 1971, but that wasn't the only one. We went and integrated restaurants every Saturday before this happened. At night when we marched, the square was always the central location," Goodman said.
Former basketball team captain Johnny Johnson will be the guest speaker, and high school students will provide the entertainment. Goodman said there will be singing, dancing and instrumental music.
A reception will follow the ceremony at 1138 Monticello St., which is both the name and address of the reception hall next to Plain Nuts Catering and Deli.
Goodman invited attendees to bring their own lawn chairs to sit on the square and enjoy the festivities. In the case of inclement weather, Goodman is trying to arrange for the Historic Courthouse to host the event.