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J. W. Lemon

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Information about J. W. Lemon

Profile image of J. W. Lemon

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Activist
Postal Worker

Favorites

Favorite Color:
White
Favorite Food:
Barbecue (Pork)
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Detroit, Michigan
Favorite Quote:
I'll Let No One Separate Me From The Grace Of God.

Birthplace

Born:
11/9/1919
Birth Location:
Locust Grove, Georgia

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Activist
Postal Worker

Favorites

Favorite Color:
White
Favorite Food:
Barbecue (Pork)
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Detroit, Michigan
Favorite Quote:
I'll Let No One Separate Me From The Grace Of God.

Birthplace

Born:
11/9/1919
Birth Location:
Locust Grove
See how J. W. Lemon is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Postal worker and Georgia NAACP president James Windel Lemon was born on November 9, 1919 in Locust Grove, Georgia to Maggie Richie and James E. Lemon. Both of his parents were sharecroppers; as a result, Lemon and his five siblings worked the farm at a very young age. Lemon was accidentally shot by hunters in November of 1925, and lost his left eye. In 1935, his father went to work in the cotton mills when the dust bowl impacted their farming community. Lemon attended Shoal Creek Elementary School and graduated from Henry County Training School in McDonough, Georgia in 1939.

After graduation, Lemon went to Atlanta and worked for his Uncle George in a pressing plant. Soon after, under the National Youth Administration, he attended Forsyth State Teacher’s College in Forsyth, Georgia, where he studied to be a plumber. The cost to attend the school was ten dollars per month. In 1940, while attending the school, he met his future wife and they got married that same year. After leaving school, Lemon tried to get work in Detroit, Michigan, but was unsuccessful. He returned home to live with his parents in Georgia.

During the 1940s, Lemon became the founder and youngest chapter president of the Henry County NAACP, and found himself under regular threat by the Ku Klux Klan. He was actively involved in advocating for an improved education system in Henry County and successfully achieved the group’s goal of better training for teachers in African American schools. Lemon was also heavily involved in fighting for the rights of African American farmers and helped them purchase land through the Federal Home Loans Administration. In addition, Lemon was instrumental in persuading then-Georgia Governor Herman Talmadge in enacting civil rights legislation during the 1970s. During this time, Lemon worked for the U.S. military at an Army Depot credit union, where he remained until 1945.

Lemon next worked for the mail department at the railroad at Terminal Station in Atlanta, a branch of the United States Post Office. He worked there for twenty-one years, after which he left to work directly for the U.S. Post Office, where he remained for another twenty years. Lemon was involved in supporting Jimmy Carter’s run for the U.S. Presidency in the mid-1970s. Lemon retired from the U.S. Postal Service as a clerk and mail handler.

Lemon pass away on November 17, 2011 at the age of 92.

Lemon is the devoted husband of Mrs. Gladys Lemon, his wife of sixty-one years, the father of three sons, James, Jr., Kenneth and Wayman.

Lemon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2006.

See how J. W. Lemon is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of J.W. Lemon's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - J.W. Lemon lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - J.W. Lemon describes his paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - J.W. Lemon talks about his paternal grandfather's land
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - J.W. Lemon describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - J.W. Lemon describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - J.W. Lemon describes his parents' sharecropping
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - J.W. Lemon describes his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - J.W. Lemon remembers working on his family's farm with his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - J.W. Lemon remember his childhood pastimes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - J.W. Lemon recalls his childhood interactions with white people
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - J.W. Lemon lists the schools he attended
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - J.W. Lemon remembers his teachers at Shoal Creek Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - J.W. Lemon remembers his walk to Henry County Training School and its facilities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - J.W. Lemon remembers attending a National Youth Administration school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - J.W. Lemon recalls Christmas with his family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - J.W. Lemon remembers Shoal Creek Baptist Church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - J.W. Lemon remembers his interactions with the King family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - J.W. Lemon describes African Americans' educational opportunities during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - J.W. Lemon remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - J.W. Lemon recalls his marriage to Gladys Prince Lemon
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - J.W. Lemon recalls working at Georgia's Conley Army Depot
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - J.W. Lemon remembers forming a credit union at Conley Army Depot
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - J.W. Lemon remembers the change of leadership at Conley Army Depot
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - J.W. Lemon remembers working on the railroad for the U.S. Postal Service
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - J.W. Lemon remembers meeting A. Philip Randolph
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - J.W. Lemon recalls interviewing for a position on the McDonough Board of Education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - J.W. Lemon describes the conditions of the schools in McDonough, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - J.W. Lemon remembers his presidency of the NAACP's Henry County chapter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - J.W. Lemon remembers postal workers tampering with the NAACP's mail
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - J.W. Lemon remembers receiving threats from the Ku Klux Klan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - J.W. Lemon remembers those who protected him from the Ku Klux Klan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - J.W. Lemon remembers helping sharecroppers access government subsidies
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - J.W. Lemon recalls helping black farmers buy land through the Farmers Home Administration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - J.W. Lemon remembers Eugene Talmadge
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - J.W. Lemon describes his interactions with Georgia's governors
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - J.W. Lemon remembers meeting President Harry S. Truman
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - J.W. Lemon remembers the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - J.W. Lemon recalls buying his home through the Farmers Home Administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - J.W. Lemon recalls challenges to his NAACP chapter in Henry County, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - J.W. Lemon remembers holding voter registration drives
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - J.W. Lemon remembers meeting Thurgood Marshall
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - J.W. Lemon remembers the murder of Emmitt Till
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - J.W. Lemon recalls advocating to build senior housing in Atlanta, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - J.W. Lemon recalls advocating to build senior housing in Atlanta, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - J.W. Lemon remembers the trial of Herman Talmadge
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - J.W. Lemon recalls Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassinations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - J.W. Lemon recalls being offered the position of postmaster in Locust Grove
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - J.W. Lemon reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - J.W. Lemon describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - J.W. Lemon shares advice for future generations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - J.W. Lemon talks about his wife