Savannah civic leader and leading black Republican Mrs. Mamie George Williams (1872- 1951), was honored posthumously on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at the 2018 Georgia Women of Achievement (GWA) induction ceremony at Wesleyan College in Macon. Georgia Women of Achievement was created in 1990 to honor women in Georgia who have contributed extensively to the community through their professional and personal lives. A native and life-long resident of Savannah, Mamie George Williams gave more than 30 years of commitment to the African-American community. During World War I, she supported Liberty Loan Drives and earned a coveted pin for her 2, 400 hours of volunteer work with the Toussaint L’Ouverture branch of the American Red Cross. She is credited with bringing out 40,000 Georgia women to vote in the 1920 presidential election, waging voter campaigns and flooding the state with literature
Williams was a leader in civic organizations. During the 1920s and the 1930s she served as president of the Georgia, Federation of Women’s Clubs, member of the Interracial Commission of Georgia, director of the Georgia State Savings and Realty Corporation, president of the Chatham County Colored Citizen Council, and office holder in the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. In the 1940s Williams was a leader in the movement that resulted in securing the Colored Recreation Center and Swimming Pool at Savannah.
Politically, Williams was nationally known. In 1924, she became the first African-American woman appointed to the Republican National Committee to represent Georgia and the first woman of any race accorded the floor at the National Republican Convention. There, she spoke in defense of Georgia’s black Republican delegates whose seats were being contested by the lily-white faction of the party. Immediately afterwards, she organized the first and only national political organization among black women in the United States—the National Republican League of Colored Women. Williams was re-elected to the post of committeewoman in 1928 and served until 1932.
“Mamie George Williams was a dynamic woman whose strides and accomplishments benefited and empowered African American communities in Georgia and nationwide,” says historian and author Velma Maia Thomas Fann who nominated Williams for the Georgia Women of Achievement honor. “In politics, she stood for the race, often standing alone. Her life gives us a glimpse of what women can achieve, even against great odds.”
Remembered as a very intelligent and beautiful woman with auburn hair, Williams died in Charity Hospital in 1951. Last rites were held at First Congregational Church, where she had been a member for many years. Noted The Savannah Tribune, “In the passing of Mrs. (Mamie) George S. Williams, Savannah has lost another citizen…loyal to it to the core and a tireless champion of her people.
Perhaps, none of her activities gave her more satisfaction than her work with the Chatham Protective Home for Negro girls, and her work with Girl Scouts. Many children whom she mothered bear eloquent testimony of the devotion to a cause to which she gave the latter years of her life. Ms. Thomas-Fann is seeking more information on Mamie George Williams.
She can be reached at 404- 217-5244 or by email at VelmaFann@gmail.com.