The 34th Annual Emancipation Proclamation Observance and Pioneer Awards were held on January 1, 2024. The theme was “A Salute to the Arts.”
Among the honorees were Morton Theatre Facility Supervisor Lynn Green "for unselfish and dedicated service" in the arts. She manages the Morton and Athens Creative Theatre. A University of Georgia graduate, she has a Drama and Theatre degree. For over two decades Lynn has served the Morton Theatre including as a member of the theatre staff for 17 years, and her previous roles as a contractor, board member, and interim Arts Division Administrator.
The Morton Theatre was honored with an award, as well. Built in 1910 by Monroe Bowers Morton, it is one of the first and the oldest surviving African American vaudeville theatre in the United States. At one time, the Morton building formed the core of the downtown Black business district. The theatre was the primary entertainment facility for the city’s Black community for many years and is the only theatre from the early twentieth century that survives in Athens-Clarke County. It is now a facility of the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department.
The late Lois Thomas-Ewings was posthumously honored, as well. In 1985 she moved to Athens and began mentoring young girls at Heard Park (then East Athens Community Center) and founded the East Athens Educational Dance Center which took on a life of its own. During her 35 years with the Athens-Clarke Unified Government, she taught more than 3,500 students in Athens and surrounding areas.