"I AM, AMERICA: THE STORY OF AMANDA AMERICA DICKSON" This complex story is about decades of slavery, emancipation, love, education, wealth, legacy, family conflict(s), and a resolution between Amanda, Amanda's mother, Julia Lewis Dickson, Amanda's white grandmother, Elizabeth, and her father, David.
The Amanda Dickson stage play is finally complete - and is $100,000 away from its goal. The new stage play, I Am, America: The Story of Amanda America Dickson is set to hit the stage in November 2023. Community donors paid for the stage play, advising, and development.
“I Am, America” will bring to the national stage the untold history of Amanda America Dickson. Her story moves from the dusty archives of Southern history to be counted among America’s most unusual success stories.
She was the daughter of David Dickson, a farmer driven by science who rose to recognition as the Prince of Agriculture in the South, regaled for his crop-boosting fertilizer compounds. The wealthy, single Dickson was also a slave owner, who favored a 13-year-old enslaved girl named Julia, overpowered her, and Amanda America Dickson was born.
Though enslaved through her endearing White grandmother’s ownership, Amanda was groomed to mingle among the elite society of Georgia. She attended Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Julia, her birth mother, was also Dickson’s confidant. He trusted her to manage the plantation books and worker affairs. Julia even persuaded Dickson to build a church
for the enslaved workers. The St. Paul AME Church still stands today in Hancock County.
Dickson as Amanda’s birth father was no secret, and he relished in showing off his beautiful daughter. Upon Dickson’s death, his family revolted when told that he left his major holdings to Amanda, making her the richest African American woman in America at the time.
The ensuing trial contesting David Dickson’s will made international news and tested the mettle of the young Amanda. She emerged triumphant. She became a successful businesswoman and philanthropist. She left a legacy of generous contributions to education, such as Payne College, and the arts.
Amanda will tell her story in this heartfelt history, with alternate love and longing, facts and feelings. The writer has captured the amazing life of an African American woman in the 19th century and readied it for America’s enjoyment.
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Our team is led by our great writer and director Mr. Herman LeVern Jones. Herman possesses 50 years of experience as a celebrated theatre practitioner. His career includes numerous awards and acting credits. One of his more notable accomplishments was his recurring role in the NYC-based soap opera, “The Guiding Light”. Other accomplishments include touring West Africa with the Chuck Davis Dance Company, working with Broadway Producer Woodie King, Jr. as Associate Producer of the National Black Touring Circuit, Inc. of New York, successfully touring the “I Have A Dream” Broadway Musical on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to 125+ cities internationally, and working with the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1989 to create the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Jones has personally touched the lives of thousands of youths throughout his career. Just two of his accomplishments in this area include founding the Southeast Raleigh School of the Arts which prepared over 1,000 youth for successful careers in the entertainment industry and teaching at prestigious educational institutions such as Yale University, the Ohio State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
R. Allen Haywood was elected Sparta Mayor in November 2019 after serving two years on City Council as Mayor Pro-Tem.
After graduating from Warren County High School in 1970, he attended the University of Florida. Finishing journalism school in 1975 he returned to Warrenton, joining Haywood Publications as news editor of The Warrenton Clipper weekly newspaper. In July 1984 he moved to Sparta and purchased The Ishmaelite weekly newspaper, serving as owner, editor & publisher until he sold the newspaper to Tribb Publications in July 2005. Haywood joined the golf operations staff at Reynolds Lake Oconee in 2007 as a golf course advisor/host. In June 2012 he filled the vacant position of Sparta-Hancock Development Authority executive director and continued to represent the county regionally and throughout the state.
Allen and his wife, Susan, are faithful members of Pierce Memorial Methodist Church. He is a proud stepfather to Dawn W. Brake and Ellen W. Boyer (Bo) and a very proud step-grandfather to Hayden and Heath Brake and Wells Boyer.
Wilbert D. Minter, Sr., is an accomplished strategic planner and project manager. Multiple national recognitions and numerous prestigious appointments reflect his broad expertise in policy implementation; science and the business of science, politics, education; and in civil rights and economic development. He has served on national, state, and local stages in appointed and elected roles. He rose to the executive ranks in his profession, earning first-ever awards for exceptional business performance.
Minter served as Mayor Pro Tem for the city of Oak Ridge, Tenn., and served on the Board of Education. He served as President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO). He served on the National Black Leadership Forum, the black leadership think tank, along with Coretta Scott King and Joseph Lowery.
Minter received the first-ever Department of Energy Lifetime Achievement Award for National Leadership in Small Business Programs in 2009, for his work with HBCUs and small business contracting. Minter was also designated as 2009 Black Engineer of the Year by Career Magazine. Minter also lead the way for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to receive the Eisenhower Award and the Francis Perkins award for their national leadership in doing business with small, minority and women-owned businesses; these awards are the top national leadership awards given by (SBA) Small Business Administration. He is also President of Community Building Enterprises, Inc., a 501©3 non-profit.
Carolyn B. Minter is a retired senior communications executive, having worked for more than 35 years in all facets of strategic public relations, management communications, and marketing. She served as Vice President of Communications and Senior Manager, Internal and Retiree Communications for the Tennessee Valley Authority. She worked for Mead Corporation in Executive Management Communications and Employee Engagement. Before Mead, she spent nearly 20 years at Parker Hannifin Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio, in financial, technical, and employee communications and marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Communications from Cleveland (Ohio) State University. She is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America. She is also the Vice President, Communications of Community Building Enterprises, Inc., a 501©3 nonprofit focused on economic development, science education, community arts, and youth engagement.
A native of Americus, Georgia, Ron Bivins has been in real estate since 1974. He has been in commercial real estate since 1977 for the sale and development of properties and property management. Such properties included the following clients: NCNB Bank and C&S National Bank (presently Bank of America), Eastwyck Housing Cooperative, Fulton County Property Tax Arbitrator, General Motors (Argonaut Realty Division), Southwest Hospital & Medical Center, Southwest Doctors Group, LLC, Norwest Saving Bank, Church’s and Popeyes Fried Chicken, Terry Manufacturing and Uniforms, U. S. Housing and Urban Development, Texaco and Gulf Oil Companies, The Villa at Stonecrest Condominiums, Rainbow Academy of Learning LLC, and Global Child Care Enterprises Group LLC. He is also the former Principal Broker and President of Treasure Properties, Inc. (real estate and insurance firm with offices throughout Georgia). Ron holds a B.S. Degree from Morris Brown College in Accounting/Business Administration (1974).
Next up is our expert advisor Mr. Monty Ross. Mr. Ross brings over 35 years of entertainment experience to the table. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, and began his filmmaking career as an acting student at Clark Atlanta University (formerly known as Clark College). There, Monty became friends with Spike Lee and a collective of classmates that loved film and television—Jasmine Guy, Bill Nunn, and Samuel L. Jackson were among them. They were all just kids kickin’ it and following their dreams. Who knew they all would become successes in their own right? Monty would later co-found the legendary production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, with Spike Lee in the mid-80s. At 40 Acres, Monty co-produced School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Crooklyn, Malcolm X, and more. Not too bad for a kid from the Midwest.
Myron Campbell is an Author, speaker, entrepreneur, producer for film and television, and a graduate of Full Sail University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Entertainment Business. Born in Queens, NY, Myron’s passion for the entertainment industry is very strong, especially growing up in the '80s. At the age of 22, he started working with record labels such as Def Jam, Universal, Motown, and Sony to name a few. In late 1998, he founded the advertising firm CIRKA 99 with some colleagues, which operated for around two years. He would work closely with such reputable companies as WWF, Campbell’s, Nickelodeon, and XXL Magazine. In 2016, Myron turned his focus to writing and literacy. He launched his children's book series "The Adventures of Melvin Walker". In early 2021 he launched Suite 57 with colleague Monty Ross.
Amina Mohammed-Christmas recently earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University, majoring in communication with a concentration in film and television production and a minor in psychology. She has demonstrated dedication as a production assistant through consistency, networking, and determination. She also has demonstrated an eccentric mind that leads her to innovative and creative ideologies at every opportunity to showcase her talents. She produced her first commercial production for a faith-based congregation in 2022 with success. Amina appears to have a talent for aesthetics and a desire to work as a filmmaker. Her goal as a creative is to use unique camera angles and what's around for aesthetics to capture the beauty in all things, no matter how dark the reality is. Amina admires directors like Spike Lee, Ava DuVerney, M. Night Shyamalan, Jordan Peele, Issa Rae, and Monty Ross. She enjoys these filmmakers' projects for their authenticity, realism, and psychological aspects.
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