Porter library to host Holocaust exhibit

COVINGTON — Newton County Library System’s Porter Memorial Branch will host an exhibit about a Georgia man who witnessed the atrocities of the Holocaust, Executive Director Lace Keaton has announced.

The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, in partnership with the Georgia Public Library Service, is bringing the traveling exhibit, “Witness to the Holocaust: WWII Veteran William Alexander Scott III at Buchenwald,” to libraries throughout the state from May to November. The project is supported by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly.

The exhibit will be at Porter Memorial Library, located at 6191 Ga. Highway 212, from Oct. 7 through Nov. 15. Admission is free.

William Alexander “W.A.” Scott III was a photographer in a segregated battalion of the U.S. Army during World War II. His witness testimony of the liberation of Buchenwald is told in the traveling exhibit, “Witness to the Holocaust,” which draws parallels to the Jim Crow Laws and the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935-1945 implemented in Germany and Nazi-controlled areas of Europe. The exhibit is based on a permanent exhibit of the same name which is hosted at the “Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945” exhibit in Sandy Springs. It was curated by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust in 1997 and revised in 2012 for the traveling version.

Scott was the son of W.A. Scott II, founder of the first black-owned daily newspaper in the country, The Atlanta Daily World. He was attending Morehouse College in 1943 when he was drafted into the Army.

He was a reconnaissance sergeant, photographer, camoufleur and part-time historian in the Intelligence Section of the 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion. On April 11, 1945, he rode into Eisenach, Germany, on an Army convoy with the 8th Corps of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army. At the time, the United States Army was segregated.

After his service, Scott returned to Atlanta and completed his education at Morehouse. In 1948 he became circulation manager of the Atlanta Daily World and was very active in the Atlanta community. He served on the committee to celebrate the first official national holiday commemorating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and was appointed by Georgia Governors Joe Frank Harris and Zell Miller to be a member of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. He was also appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

The exhibit will be presented to the community by Dr. Jerry Legge, University of Georgia, on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.