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Soon after the Civil War, in 1868, the American Missionary Association, now part of our United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, started a primary school and Congregational Church for free men. Stay and Play in GA!
During Reconstruction (under military rule), William A Golding, a black member of the Georgia Legislature and a member and selectman in the Midway Congressional Church, wrote to the AMA to request a teacher for the school which was preferably southern born and colored, a young man of good moral character and a preacher if possible.

Eliza Ann Ward, an abolitionist from Manson, Massachusetts, was sent by the AMA. She opened a school in "Golding's Grove" with an average daily attendance of 28-22 males and 17 females. Miss Ward left Liberty County for good in August, 1872. Floyd Snelson, a former slave who ministered and taught at the AMA's Andersonville, Georgia, school and did further study at Atlanta University, was hired to come to Liberty County to promote Congressionalism and foster the school.

In 1879 the school prospered under his leadership and was enlarged to provide secondary education for freedman for the first time in Liberty County. It was named Dorchester Academy , referring back to the original home of the first settlers at Midway. The Academy was both a boarding and a day school. It was attended not only by the children of freedmen, but also by parents and grandparents. They had come to know the Bible orally through the ministry of Mr. Charles Colcock, a rich planter and Presbyterian clergymen. Now they wanted to read it themselves, to know it more intimately and searchingly.

" Our community of freedmen are evidently destined to great improvement in prosperity and intelligence" (Reverend J. T. H. Waite - Pastor, Old Midway Congregational Church.

Amenities: Parking, Restrooms and Accessibility for mobility-impaired. Call for fees.
Wall Murals
Three five-foot murals attempt to bring into focus the influence of Dorchester Academy upon Liberty and surrounding counties over a period of 108 years.

Panel 1- IN THE BEGINNING The center piece is a log house, a model of the housing at the time, surrounded by people longing for a better way of life. Survival occupations, tools used during this era, modes of transportation, family life, and a horse drawn buggy bringing a teacher to the settlement.

Panel 2 - THE LONG HALL 1873-1943....This panel depicts 70 yrs of academic excellence. The center piece is a "yellow brick road" that leads to the wonderful land of Dorchester Academy. The expanded Academy facilities can be seen, along with lifestyle changes, an all Colored administration, and an integrated audience.

Panel 3 - THE NEW FRONTIER 1943-1981 .... This panel depicts the entrance of Colored people into mainstream America. The first county funded Secondary School for Colored people, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. and Andrew Young' s work at academy. The murals dramatically bring into focus the struggles of Colored people to share in the American Dream of Life, Liberty, and Peace of Mind.
Hours of Operation
Open Tues-Fri at 11 am to 2 pm, and Sat - Sun from 2-4 pm.
Phone - Address & Website
Phone: 912-884-2347 – Address: 8787 Oglethorpe Hwy, Midway Georgia 31320 - Dorchester Academy and Museum Website
Dorchester Academy Museum

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