Located next to the Trinity CME Church and south of Sparta is the Trinity School. It was used until 1959 to educate Black schoolchildren of the area. Based on the design, this one-room schoolhouse was built before Rosenwald schools were and, likely, before 1910.
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. The home that she lived in with her mother and her two sons still stands today. 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.
This house has fueled the imagination of many because it is so beautiful, and I wish it could be saved. I understand from those that have been inside the house has been stripped of all the interesting details. It’s still a beautiful Queen Anne, though. I like to drive by it anytime I am in the area.
More recently known as the John McCown house, the Hancock County political organizer, tax records show the house was built in 1900, which might be a little late.