SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As more protests started happening in the South during the civil rights movement, George Shinhoster says he began to look at Savannah of the 1960s differently.
“Savannah was a very polarized city,” says Shinhoster. “Definitely separate and definitely not equal.”
Shinholster has been named the 2020 Civil Rights Activist by the MLK Observance Day Association in Savannah for his efforts in bringing about social change. He says he’ll be attending the organization’s 41st annual parade on Monday, Jan. 20 to join in the celebration.
He worked to register black voters and was one of the few African American students to integrate Groves High School.
“There was just this whole awakening taking place and it allowed for some of us to begin, well myself in particular, to think very differently about things,” says Shinhoster.
He says these experiences shaped his perspective on conflict and his work alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“It was new to say, ‘Don’t hit back. Don’t fight back,'” says Shinholster. “So then I began to look at this whole thing a little bit differently and think in terms of it in a very different way.”
His brother, Richard Shinhoster, says George Shinhoster used his experiences in the movement to inspire his life’s work to give back.
“George’s work, I think, was something that the family saw as the family’s contribution,” said Richard Shinhoster, the Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Savannah Branch.
George Shinhoster now lives in New Jersey but says he’s elated to be honored by his hometown and hopes he can continue to work towards achieving Dr. King’s dream.
“I’m just looking at trying to reclassify myself as a dream-keeper,” he says, “To do things to keep that at the forefront of the mindsets of many who may not have thought of it in that way.”
Hear more from the interview with George Shinhoster below.
The 2020 Civil Rights Activist reflects on Savannah in the 1960s in the middle of Jim Crow:
George Shinhoster on staying persistent in the face of conviction as he protested during the civil rights movement:
The honoree shares lessons from Dr. King and the civil rights movement:
Visit here to learn more about this year’s MLK Observance Day Association celebration.