The Right Blend Blog

3 Must See African-American Historic Sites in Liberty County

People always say that Liberty County is very rich in history, and a large part of that is thanks to our African-American heritage. We have several historic sites in Liberty County that helped blaze the trail for a new way of life. In fact, one of them is recognized on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail! We want to tell you a little bit about each of these special places. They are still such a large part of the lives of so many people who live in Liberty County! Keep reading to find out more about them.

1) Dorchester Academy

Martin Luther King Jr. at Dorchester Academy

Dorchester Academy was founded in 1871 by the American Missionary Association as a school for freed slaves. In the years following, it became a fully accredited high school and had 300 students enrolled! In the 1940s, a consolidated school for black youth opened in Riceboro. This caused the academic program at Dorchester Academy to end.

Although it was no longer a school, it went on to become Dorchester Cooperative Center. The Cooperative Center was an institute for community development, political and social change. Many key figures in the Civil Rights Movement spent time here over the years. This includes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth! In fact, this is where they prepared for “Project C” which was later memorialized as the infamous Birmingham March, one of the first major victories in the Civil Rights Movement.

Today the former boy’s dormitory is the last of the original Dorchester Academy buildings that remains. It is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and serves as an African-American history museum and community center. Dorchester Academy is one of only 11 stops on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail located in Georgia! Interested in learning more? Call them and make an appointment to visit!

2) Historic Baptismal Trail

Historic Baptismal Trail African-American Historic Sites

📸 Ralph Daniel

The Historic Baptismal Trail was an active holy place for almost 100 years. Ancestors of the local Geechee communities used it as a place to baptize new members into their faith. Testimonials from surviving descendants of the First African Baptist Church tell us that the site was brought to life in the 1840s. The early baptisms were carried out in affiliation with the North Newport Church until the white congregation moved to Walthourville in 1854. It was then that the enslaved Africans renamed the church the First African Baptist Church and continued the practice of the ritual baptisms at the site until the early 1940s!

The Historic Baptismal Trail is located in Riceboro, and you can explore at your own pace! There are benches, picnic tables and signage located on-site that teach visitors about the natural habitats and historical significance of the site. What are you waiting for? Go for a walk and see the living pieces of history that our ancestors left behind many years ago! For more information about the site, contact the City of Riceboro.

3) Geechee Kunda

Geechee Kunda African-American Historic Sites

📸 Tammy Lee Bradley

Geechee Kunda sits on what once was a rice, cotton and indigo producing plantation in Riceboro. It brings history to life throughout the museum and represents the influential African and Gullah Geechee cultures that once called Liberty County home. They have events such as the Annual Sugarcane Grinding Festival and a number of craft shows to showcase the beauty of the Geechee culture.

It is a truly one-of-a-kind place! In the beginning of the pandemic, in-person tours were put on hold. Before you drive out to visit, we suggest that you give them a call at (912) 231-7583 to get more information!

Each of these sites hold strong historical and cultural significance! They allow visitors to put themselves in the shoes of the people who lived here so many years ago. #ExploreLiberty and visit each one to learn even more about the people and places that shaped our community and left their lasting mark!

Liberty County small logomark

In Liberty County, we like to say we have The Right Blend for everyone. Whether you’re visiting us for a weekend, looking to plant some roots, or working on your business dream, Liberty welcomes you with open arms and endless possibilities.

Visit Liberty County today!