Must See African-American Historic Sites in Liberty County
People always say that Liberty County is a very rich historical place, and African-American heritage is a huge part of that. There are a couple of African-American historic sites in Liberty County where our ancestors went to learn and fight for their freedom. We want to tell you a little bit about these places, since they were and still are such a large part of the lives of so many people who lived in Liberty County!
Dorchester Academy was founded in 1871 by the American Missionary Association as a school for freed slaves. In the following years, it became a fully accredited high school and had 300 students enrolled! In the 1940s a consolidated school for black youth opened, so the academic program at Dorchester ended.
This is when it became the Dorchester Cooperative Center, an institute for community development, political and social change. Many key figures in the civil rights movement spent time here over the years such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth. Today, the Dorchester Academy is a National Historic Landmark and serves as an African-American history museum and community center. Schedule a tour to visit them in Midway to learn more!
Historic Baptismal Trail
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, and the Christian baptisms were performed by the leaders of a congregation of enslaved people for 100 years.
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, so go for a walk and see the living pieces of history that our ancestors left behind many years ago!
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 Geechee cultures that inhabited Liberty County. They have events such as the Sugarcane Festival and different craft shows to showcase the beauty of the Geechee culture.
The museum features many local artists, singers and displays that show the everyday life of the tribe, since the main goal for visitors is to be educate them while also entertaining them. It is a truly one-of-a-kind place! In the beginning of the pandemic, in-person tours were put on hold so before you drive out to visit, we suggest that you give them a call to get more information!
Each of these sites are informative and allow visitors to put themselves in the shoes of the people who lived here so many years ago. Visit them to learn even more about the people and places that shaped our community and left a lasting impact!