Midway CME Church, Thomas County

On the outskirts of Thomasville, Georgia, there is a historic church that served the Black community for years. It and the cemetery have fallen in disrepair over the years. There is a movement to clean-up and restore the cemetery which contains many formerly enslaved people. More information can be found on Facebook on how to help save the cemetery.

The Restoration of Walker Grove Baptist Church, Screven County

The Newington Historical Society is working to restore this historic Black church in Screven County. You can read more about this church at Vanishing South Georgia and Historic Rural Churches of Georgia.

You can follow along with the restoration at Walker Grove Restoration on Facebook.

Lyon Farmhouse, Dekalb County

The Lyon Farmhouse, built around 1820 and restored in 2019, is considered one of the oldest remaining homes in Dekalb County, Georgia. Members of the Lyon Family occupied the home until 2007, even though ownership was transferred to the county in 2003. Prior to the end of the Civil War, the slave census records indicated that the Lyon family enslaved 17 people. After the Civil War, the freedmen and women of the Lyon family stayed in the area to start one of the oldest Black communities in the state. The community named Flat Rock served as an important support system to create a thriving community.

Notable descendants of the families who formed Flat Rock are Willie Gault (football player), Chris Tucker (comedian), and Warren Moon (football player).

The Wonder of Life, Spartanburg County

In Spartanburg, South Carolina’s Greenlawn Cemetery, there is an impressive monument, sculpted by Bernard Zimmerman , called “The Wonder of Life.” Commissioned by the cemetery, it’s one of the largest monuments I’ve seen in a lawn cemetery. Each sculpted figure (18 in total) represents different aspects of life. It was restored a a few years ago, and the trees that surrounded it were removed.

Smith Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Jefferson County

This a well cared for church and cemetery in Jefferson County, Georgia. The vernacular headstones and some of the ledgers are incredibly interesting. One of the ledger stones reminds me of stained glass. I wondered as I photographed it if glass was once there.

In doing a doing genealogical search, I am unable to determine why it is Professor Lewis Seabrook. I was hoping to find out that he was a professor for a local college. In census data, he is listed as a farmer. Maybe he was just so knowledgeable that he earned that name.

I will continue to research about this church. It’s still active, or as active as a church can be during COVID.

Springfield Log Cabin School, Taliaferro County

Built in 1935, the Springfield Log Cabin School served the Black community in Taliaferro County. It is not a Rosenwald school, but it was built in a similar fashion due to the effectiveness of the different Rosenwald designs.

In 1965, it served as a community as a Freedom School, which educated elementary and high school students to become activists and participate in the Civil Rights Movement.

The Georgia Trust of Historic Preservation listed it as a Place in Peril in 2019. You can follow restoration and fundraising efforts on the school’s Facebook page.

Amanda America Dickson Toomer

This is Amanda America Dickson, who became one of the wealthiest African American women after her father left his wealth to her. This was an unusual act because most white planters did not recognize the children born of the women they enslaved. Dickson’s relatives contested the will, but the Georgia courts ruled in favor of Ms. Dickson.

The plantation where Amanda was born and her mother, Julia, was enslaved still exists in Sparta. I’ve been told that the house shown is the house that Amanda Dickson lived in with her mother and sons. It sits on Dickson Plantation on the outskirts of Sparta. David Dickson owned significantly more land than what makes up the modern day Dickson Plantation.

Through the woods, near the plantation, is the St. Paul’s CME Church where Julia worshipped. If you visit, you will notice the graveyard is filled with Dicksons. The mother is buried there, but she seems to be without a headstone because I’ve been unable to locate it in my visits. The congregation is still active with a newer brick church down the road from this building.

After winning her court case, Amanda moved to Augusta with her sons and mother and lived in the yellow home on Telfair Street. Amanda married Nathan Toomer (Toomer was the father of Jean Toomer, the author), but she died only one year after they got married.

Her funeral was held at the Trinity CME Church in Augusta. Her final resting place is in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Augusta. Even though her husband remarried, he rests next to Amanda.


This is a small look into Amanda’s life. There is a book about her life written by Kent Leslie. There’s also a movie, starring Jennifer Beals of Flashdance and L-Word fame, called “A House Divided.” It’s available via YouTube.

Nolan House, Morgan County

Built in 1906, this house is part of the Nolan plantation, Morgan County, Georgia. It is the second Nolan home on the property. The other one is supposedly still standing but isn’t easily accessible. The Nolan family built their wealth on the backs of enslaved labor prior to the Civil War. After the war, they switched to a sharecropping method of farming. There’s been talk for several years to preserve the home, but restoration has not been started. The Madison-Morgan Conservancy have been trying to get work done. The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

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