Quitman 10 + 2 to be Honored as
Trailblazers of the Year by The Informer
by Amanda Smith
The Brooks County, Georgia Quitman 10 + 2 have been selected to receive the Trailblazers of the Year Award by The Informer and will be honored at The Informer's Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Ceremony. The event will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12 noon at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, located at 2789 Millerfield Road in Macon, Georgia.
The Quitman 10 + 2 are a group of twelve individuals in Brooks County who were arrested in December of 2010, three of which were indicted in November of 2011 on charges of voter fraud in a race-charged case surrounding absentee voting in Quitman, a rural South Georgia town 17 miles west of Valdosta.
The case began in July 2010 when three African Americans, two winning seats on the Brooks County Board of Education and one County Commissioner seat, were elected due to large numbers of absentee votes by fellow blacks in an election that has raised questions of voter fraud. Twelve individuals were arrested following the election that had white incumbents winning until 979 absentee ballots were counted. The incumbents were allowed to run the race again as write-in candidates in the General Primary in November and once again, lost.
In a case that grabbed national attention and garnered support from various civil rights groups, Dr. Nancy Whitfield Dennard, Elizabeth Diane Thomas, and Linda Faye Troutman were removed from their seats on the Board of Education by Governor Nathan Deal following a meeting of the Governor’s Review Commission in which a tri-panel heard arguments from sides of the case.
Following an executive order by Governor Deal in October of 2012, all three individuals were re-instated to their seats on the Brooks County Board of Education because despite the still active indictment, they have essentially not been tried in a "speedy" manner as guaranteed by the law.
The Quitman 10 + 2 have the full support of The Informer throughout their struggles to equal rights and are proud to honor them as Trailblazers of the Year for 2012.