Mercer Cluster

The Historic Power of the Peace Fountain

Sterling Neill, Contributing Writer

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Around the year 1914 a magnificent fountain was constructed in Macon, Georgia.

It stood triumphant and tall as an icon for Macon and its community members, but the Great Depression took its toll.

The fountain was turned off in 1934.

For years the fountain sat waterless in a garden, “until the late 1960’s when the fountain was taken away and all that remained was a frog,” said Andrew Silver, a chairperson of Friends of Tattnall Square Park and an English professor at Mercer University.

Recently Macon committee members have noticed the lack of aesthetic beauty in Macon’s Tattnall Park and decided to erect a new fountain with connections to the structure that came before.

“These historic ties will consist of a structure inspired by the 1914 fountain as well as historic quotes from various Maconites and Mercerians who fought for equality and justice,” Silver said.

The new fountain’s four tier and pedestal system is modeled after the earlier fountain.

The fountain will also include the very same frog figurine that was left behind in the 1960’s after the original fountain was taken away.

“I have worked gathering inspirational quotes from some of the most influential Maconites and Mercerians, such as Mac Bryan, Sam Oni, and Joe Hendricks,” stated Silver.

Mac Bryan was a Mercer professor who encouraged a group of students to fight against segregation between the years of 1948 and 1956.

In 1963, Sam Oni was the first black male to attend Mercer. His personal fight for integration helped the university make strides towards racial equality as a whole.

While attending, Oni made many contributions to Mercer, including his writings for The Cluster.

Joe Hendricks, an administrator at Mercer, helped fight segregation by aiding Oni in attending Mercer University.

Silver said that this new fountain was created to remember important historic Macon heroes and events that characterized and laid the foundation for Macon today.

“No fountain in the nation will speak to us here like this one will now,” he said.

Silver said that the fountain ‐‐ and the park surrounding it ‐‐ is important to this town, because it brings the community together as a whole.

“Parks unite us with the past, the future, and unite us with our own neighbors,” stated Silver.

Those neighbors will have four different ways of reaching the fountain. Four walkways will lead into the bricked plaza, each describing an ingredient of peace.

“The first is love or understanding, to understand each other. The second flows from that, which is justice: if you understand each other then you work for equality for each other. The third is the trust that comes from justice, and the fourth is the hope that comes from trust,” Silver explained.

The elements were chosen by community children playing in Tattnall Park.

Mercer students are able to buy bricks to add to the plaza. For more information please go to

https://www.bricksrus.com/order/friendsoftattnall/.

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The Historic Power of the Peace Fountain