The History of American Legion Avery-Cuthbert Post 537
Paul E. Kelly Jr. Post 296
The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary were both organized in the year 1919, formed as a Patriotic Veterans organizations focusing on service to Veterans, service members and communities. The Avery-Cuthbert American Legion Post 537 was named for Robert Herschel Avery and Benjamin Cuthbert Jr. both natives of Marietta, Ga both killed in World War II. In the United States of America under segregation all American Legion Posts were to remain separate but equal. During the segregated years of the military, especially after the World Wars, black veterans in the southern states were allowed to form and were granted charters in The American Legion with all the state and local rights and privileges. In the state of Georgia the American Legion was divided into three districts A, B and C, Avery-Cuthbert Post 537 was in district C. During these times The American Legion Posts for Black Veterans throughout the south were issued the 500 series numbers identifying these as Posts for black veterans, thankfully many of these distinguished number 500 series Posts still exist today carrying their legacy with honor.
In Marietta, Georgia during the 1940's era of Jim Crow laws and segregation, there were only two American Legion Posts for Veterans to belong to, Horace Orr Post #29 was considered as the "white post" and Avery-Cuthbert Post #537 was considered as the "black post" . The American Legion District meetings, Spring and Fall Conferences, and Conventions were all held separately. Delegates/Veterans belonging to the 500 Series Posts attending those meetings, conferences, and conventions would use High School & College auditoriums, or special event halls to hold these various meetings and would board in private homes instead of the local hotels and motels. Integration and the passing of Civil, Equal and Human Rights laws changed those dynamics over time. The rich history, distinctive journey, honorable service and sacrifices of the Veterans belonging to Avery-Cuthbert Post 537 is cherished by all in the city of Marietta and throughout Cobb County. Today, operating as Paul E. Kelly Jr. American Legion Post #296, named after native from Marietta and Veteran killed in the Vietnam war, we continue to serve God, Country and community as we welcome everyone from all branches of the armed forces.