A memorial marker for the grave of Jerry Gore was unveiled Monday in the Green Acres Cemetery in Maysville.
The front of the tombstone has a picture of Gore, along with his date of birth and death. Quotes from Gore are inscribed on the front and back. It was donated by the Black Voice Foundation and the Footsteps to Freedom Study tours of California, as well as the Daniel E. Walker and Fredrick Douglas family initiatives.
Cheryl Brown, founder of the Black Voice Foundation and Footsteps to Freedom study tours, spoke about her respect for Gore and why the marker was placed for him.
“I’m the founder of the Footsteps to Freedom tours. One of the things that happened when we were planning to do this, the National Parks Service called me and said we couldn’t do this unless we had Jerry Gore’s input. I didn’t know who Jerry Gore was, but I met him,” she said. “Jerry Gore is my friend. Jerry Gore is a part of our family. We absolutely adore Jerry, so whenever his untimely death came, we were very saddened. He meant everything to us and the education in the state of California. We wouldn’t be where we are today without him. He was a man ahead of his time and someone a lot of people didn’t understand. He was a very unique individual.”
The ceremony began with a prayer from Rev. Rodney Bennett of the May’s Lick Baptist Church. Once the prayer ended, several people memorialized Gore.
Kenneth Morris, the great-great-great-grandson of Fredrick Douglas and great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington, spoke about his memories of Gore.
“We are here today because of this great man,” he said. “He was a guy who loved everybody he met. Hopefully this will be an inspiration to people to continue his work. One of the things I loved about Jerry was that he always represented here. He always represented Maysville and Mason County. He always brought it with him. He came out to California and they learned about Maysville, because he brought it with him. He always kept home first. I loved his line that ‘I’m going to spread good news like it’s bad news.’ We need to keep doing that.”
Dr. Daniel Walker said Gore was a friend to him.
“When he passed away unexpectedly, we were on a trip. He was supposed to be with us, but he fell ill. When we returned to California, we learned of his passing,” he said. “Last year, we came through with some teachers and we realized we wanted to recognize him the same way we had been recognizing the ancestors during those trips. Every teacher who went through last year donated some money for this monument. Here we are today to celebrate and lift up another great hero.”
Former Mason County Judge-Executive James L. “Buddy” Gallenstein recalled his experiences with Gore.
“I came out here last night just to look at the monument and I wondered what Jerry would say. He used to say, ‘Momma Hattie caused all this. I stand on her shoulders and she stood on others shoulders’ and now it’s up to us to stand on his shoulders,” he said. “He touched hundreds of lives all across the country. He received numerous awards for his efforts and it’s only fitting this community recognizes him today. He was a teacher of history and a storyteller. We miss Jerry and I hope we’ll be able to continue on with his work.”
Current Judge-Executive Joe Pfeffer also remembered Gore.
“Jerry was bigger than life and he’ll remain huge in his eternal life. For those who were at the cabin, he was there with you today,” Pfeffer said. “He reached out across this country and helped to put Maysville and the history of Maysville on the map.”
During the ceremony, Hardy Brown II told the guests that an exhibit had been put together using artifacts collected by Gore throughout his life.
“We’ve been working with the family to put together a traveling exhibit called The Gore Collection that features many of the artifacts he spoke about,” Brown said. “The artifacts not only talk about the history of this area, but it also talks about the concept of people choosing to make the right choice in history. It’s inspired our organization to take them to school districts all across the country.”
Brown said the exhibit was recently on display at the University of California Riverside, where it was the university’s largest exhibit in history.
“Thousands of students came by to learn about Jerry, this particular area and the amazing work you do and this history,” he said. “We want to keep his legacy alive.”
Gore’s nephew, Brian Devine said the family appreciated everything done for Gore’s legacy.
“On behalf of my family, we really really really, deep in our hearts appreciate everyone being here, learning about our family history and ancestry,” Devine said.
Devine introduced his family to the guests.
“We want to thank the Black Voice Foundation, Brown family, Judge Gallenstein and everyone else for doing all of this to keep Jerry’s legacy alive. We can’t let it die. I always watched him. I love you uncle.”
The ceremony ended with Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds doing something Gore would often do before beginning a tour. She had the guests stand in a circle, holding hands. Each person then spoke the name of one of their ancestors. Afterward, the tombstone was unveiled.
Gore’s sister, Alice Dunlap, said she was pleased with everything the organizations did for Gore.
“We were so honored,” she said. “We came out here to put together the tombstone, but were told someone else had beat us to it. We were contacted by the organization and they told us what we were thinking. We were very honored. He was very deserving of this and we appreciate the community coming together to honor our brother.”