Liberty County History Is Black History
African-American heritage is such an important part of Liberty County’s history. These four historic sites provide insight into the lives of African-American ancestors who arrived as slaves, gained their freedom, and then fought for civil rights. Photographers Tammy Lee Bradley of Visit the South and Ralph Daniel captured some soulful photos that will inspire you to visit and experience this culture that has uniquely shaped our community.
Dorchester Academy & Museum of African-American History
Location: 8787 E. Oglethorpe Highway in Midway
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-2pm and Saturday & Sunday 2pm-4pm
Admission: No Fee, Donations Welcome
The former school, which was founded by the American Missionary Society soon after the Civil War to educate African-Americans, operated until 1940 and then became a cooperative to help area residents with farming, economic and household issues.
A diploma from 1940 serves as a testament to the many students who received their education and graduated from Dorchester Academy. Many were so eager to learn, they walked nine miles one way to the school. The annual Walk to Dorchester is held each June as a fundraiser for the site and retraces the average distance students walked.
Dorchester Academy’s most recent historical role was as a site for civil rights activities. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. planned his campaign to integrate Birmingham during meetings there in the mid-1960s. The room where he stayed has been preserved and is available to view.
Location: 660 Trade Hill Road in Midway
Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 10:30am-1pm
Admission: Group tours are highly recommended. Call for scheduling & rates
Seabrook Village was a community established through federal land grants made possible by Gen. William T. Sherman’s Field Order 15 in 1865, a policy that came to be known as “40 acres and a mule.”
Photo by Tammy Lee Bradley
The village, which features eight turn-of-the-century buildings, is dedicated to the authentic portrayal of rural African-American culture from 1865-1930. The interactive historic site includes a one-room schoolhouse and visitors and groups may schedule demonstrations of meal grinding, hand-hewn furniture and washing clothes on a scrub board.
Geechee Kunda Cultural Arts Center & Museum
Location: 622 Ways Temple Road in Riceboro
The site is open for group tours reserved in advance as well as for two annual events. Please call for more details on group tours and events.
Geechee Kunda is located on lands where the rice, cotton and indigo producing Retreat Plantation once stood. The center was created as a means of contributing to efforts to preserve and perpetuate the knowledge of important African cultural elements in the United States.
A sugar cane grinder stands ready and is put to use each fall during the annual Sugar Cane Harvest. The public is invited to attend and is treated to fresh sugar cane juice, performances, music, oral history lessons and arts and crafts demonstrations.
Historic Baptismal Trail
Location: 8808 E. B. Cooper Highway in Riceboro
Contact: City of Riceboro at 912-884-2986
Admission: No Fee. Tours are self-guided.
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 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 indicates that as early as the 1840s this site was used as a place where the ritual Christian baptism was performed by leaders of a congregation of enslaved people. A baptism was recently recreated for a photoshoot and the parishioners broke into song, just as their ancestors may have when the baptismal pool was still in use.
The Right Blend Blog is written by multiple authors employed by the Liberty County Chamber/CVB. All content provided on The Right Blend blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.