Reverend Thomas L. Threadgill (1926-1989) and Mrs. Mildred Locke Threadgill (1926-1977)

Mrs Gordon and Mrs Threadgill with their daughters and the Cole children

When I returned to California in 1965 to discover that I had been cited with felony trespassing and unlawful occupation of the Academy, especially after going to great lengths to get some letter of approval from my college to the Board of Education in Camden, I was shocked. But that shock was nothing compared to learning what happened to the Threadgills and the Academy as punishment for their role in the Wilcox County Freedom Fight.

Sheryl Threadgill told me about the white school board attacking Camden Academy. “The Academy? Our home and the chapel were torn down immediately after you left in August 1965. The Board of Education definitely initiated the tear down because the white ministers [and students like you] stayed there. My Dad had come down with a chronic lung disease from which he eventually died. He was getting treatment in the hospital in Tuskegee when they served the eviction notice. So he left the hospital to come home and move us.

My mother doesn’t get mentioned enough, Mrs. Mildred Locke Threadgill. She was quiet and soft spoken. It wasn’t easy for her to be an educator— She taught Home Economics and Bible at the Academy until she passed in 1977. She had to manage the household while my father was out being a community pastor. He was a dominant figure, but she was brilliant in her own right. She traveled to India and started the World Hunger Organization.  Judge Unita Blackwell’s memoir, which I read recently, tells stories that made me think of my mother and her work with the US Department of Agriculture food commodities. At first, even though they needed the food, people didn’t want to accept the commodities. My mother taught people how to improve those dry white beans, season them up into a real nice dish. She worked with Presbyterian Church youth on campus. She did all that while raising us, and maintaining the household with my father gone a lot. And she was under constant pressure for our family’s activism.”  – excerpt from 1965 This Little Light of Mine, This Bright Light of Ours, © Maria Gitin, all rights reserved.  Photo copyright Bob Fitch

Did you know or are you related to the Threadgills of Camden, Alabama? If so, please click on the Comment link below (in small print) and leave your story. Thank you!

7 comments on “Reverend Thomas L. Threadgill (1926-1989) and Mrs. Mildred Locke Threadgill (1926-1977)

  1. prenita menard says:

    Mrs. Threadgill was my Home Eco. teacher in 1965. Everybody loved her. I lived in the dorm. In 1965, students leaders – Sim and Ralph(from CA), who lived in the Dorm, plus others, met Dr. King at Antioch Baptist Church and we marched to the courthouse. Still active in political activities now and voted education. Prenita Menard, class of 1965.


  2. Alma Foye Stokes says:

    I am Alma Foye Stokes. Frederick Stokes, my husband and I lived on Whiskey Run, across the road from Mrs. Lillie Mae Scott, on the same road with Channie Smith, Sarah Woods and family, Clinton Powell, and Laura Crayton to name a few. Southern Rural Action, run by Mr. Randolph Blackwell built the Brickcrete Plant and Roof Truss Plant on Whiskey Run. The community had not running water, so we raised money by having fish fries, community fund raisers to raise enough money to run pipes to the homes in the area so they could have running water. Clint Powell, Buster Anderson were names that come to mind. I was privileged to know Rev. Thomas Threadgill and Mr. Dan Harrell. I remember the daughters of Rev. Threadgill and the son of Mr. Harrell. I remember the children of the high school playing basketball and the game was held on a dirt court until they played at a Center.

    We moved from Camden in 197I, I am still in contact with members of the Woods Family.


  3. I’m related to them, and Mrs. Threadgill also taught my mother when she was in elementary school. But that is my Aunt Cheryl as a pre-teen in that picture.


    • I should add. Rev. Threadgill was my grandfather, and Mrs. Threadgill my father’s step-mother.


    • Maria Gitin says:

      Should the caption be corrected to read Ms Cheryl Threadgill or another name? Thanks so much for catching this. We have taken these photos to Camden several times for ID but some times memories fade at our age. You must be very proud to be related to such an illustrious family.


  4. Curtis Thomas says:

    I , just wanted to post, I enjoyed the article. I came to Camden Academy in the third grade, because of the consolidation of Pine Level Elementary School, this had to be around 1964. I remember when the Chapel was torn down and the Threadgill Family moved to Hwy 41, I think to what is now { Hill Estate }. I was in mrs Colston”s fourth grade class, when her Husband David was killed at Antioch Church.


  5. Patricia Colston says:

    I knew both Mr. Reverend Threadgill and Mrs Threadgill. She was my home economics teacher, taught me how to see. Rev. Threadgill drove me to Miles College in Birmingham Al. I attended college there in August 1977… Their children also attended the same middle/high school that I did back then…Camden Academy.They were very nice, never forgotten.


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