19 Photos that Capture African-American History in Liberty County
African-American heritage is such a large and crucial part of Liberty County’s history. A couple of historic sites around the county provide a look into the lives of the influential African-Americans who gained their freedom from enslavement and fought for civil rights right here. We got some photos together that we though accurately displayed the way that this heritage has uniquely shaped our community! Keeping scrolling to see the images.
Dorchester Academy & Museum of African-American History
- Location: 8787 E. Oglethorpe Highway in Midway
- Hours: Book a tour by making an appointment. Contact them by phone at 912-884-2347 for more information.
- Admission: No Fee, Donations Welcome
Dorchester Academy is one of only 11 stops in Georgia on the U.S. Civil Rights trail based on its importance during the Civil Rights Movement. This historic school came to life in 1871 by the American Missionary Association as a school for freed slaves. By 1917, the fully-accredited high school had an enrollment of 300 students.
In the 1940s, the former school was established as Dorchester Cooperative Center. It then became an institute for community development and political and social change. The Liberty County Citizen’s Council was founded in 1946 and helped register and organize African-American voters. The jars of jelly beans placed throughout the historic site are used to show how African-Americans were kept from voting. African-American voters were supposed to guess the number of jelly beans that were in the jar and if they guessed the wrong number they weren’t allowed to vote.
During the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent lots of time at Dorchester Academy. He played baseball with the students and was accompanied by a number of other key figures in the Civil Rights Movement including Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth. Dorchester Academy prepared for “Project C” which would be later memorialized as the infamous Birmingham March, one of the first major victories in the Civil Rights Movement.
The Midway Congressional Church bell played an important role in the lives of the students at Dorchester Academy. It kept time for them by ringing at certain times throughout the day, and the echo could be heard 7-10 miles away. This was so that kids walking to school from Riceboro could hear the bell and know they needed to begin their walk to school.
Historic Baptismal Trail
- Location: 8808 E. B. Cooper Highway in Riceboro
- Hours: Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Saturdays & Sundays frp, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Contact: City of Riceboro 📞912-884-2986
- Admission: No Fee. Guide Yourself!
For almost 100 years this site was an active holy place where the ancestors of the local Geechee communities baptized new members into their faith.
The site features a short walk down a tree-lined path that leads to a boardwalk, benches and picnic tables as well as interpretive signage regarding the surrounding natural habitat and the historical significance of the site.
Oral and written church history from the surviving descendants of the First African Baptist Church indicate that as early as the 1840s this site was used as a place where ritual Christian baptism was performed by leaders of a congregation of enslaved people.
Pictured is the area of the site that was used as the original baptismal pool. This creek is what members of the congregation call the “pool.”
A couple of years ago, a baptism was recreated for a photo shoot and the parishioners broke into song, just as their ancestors may have when the baptismal pool was still in use.
Pictured is First African Baptist Church. This is where the enslaved members of the congregation began on their journey to the Historic Baptismal Trail. It is the oldest African-American church in Liberty County.
Location: 1709 Barrington Ferry Rd, Riceboro, GA 31323
Geechee Kunda Cultural Arts Center & Museum
- Location: 622 Ways Temple Road in Riceboro
- Hours: Contact the site directly for this information.
- Contact: 912-884-4440
Geechee Kunda is located on lands where the rice, cotton and indigo producing Retreat Plantation once stood. The center was created as an effort to preserve and perpetuate the knowledge of African cultural elements in the United States. It also recognizes all of the individuals that contributed!
Geechee Kunda has permanent and rotating exhibits that cover a broad spectrum of subjects and allow visitors to explore various aspects of continental and diaspora African culture.
Each year, Riceboro hosts their annual Ricefest that celebrates the rich history of the Gullah Geechee culture through live entertainment, displays, food, dance, games and much more! It is a free, all-day event hosted on the 2nd Saturday in November! For more information on the festival contact the City of Riceboro at (912) 884-4986 or visit their website at www.cityofriceboro.org.
We are #LibertyCountyProud of our roots. Our history is what makes us who we are today! Come & #ExploreLiberty, visit these unique spots and be a part of living history with us!