Discover Augusta Georgia's The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center - The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center is dedicated to African American history and art in Augusta Georgia.
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Conference Center
The museum opened in 1991 in the former home of Lucy Craft Laney, located across from the original site of Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in the Laney-Walker North Historic District. The mission of the museum is to promote the legacy of Lucy Craft Laney through arts and history.
Lucy Craft Laney was born in 1854 in Macon, Georgia. Through the kindness of her slave owner’s sister, Miss Laney learned to read and the importance of giving and sharing. In 1869, she entered the first class of Atlanta University and graduated with only three other students. Soon after, Ms. Laney began her teaching career in Macon and Savannah but eventually settled in Augusta. Encouraged by Christ Presbyterian Church, she started a school for black children which opened in 1883. Located in the basement of the church, the school had little money and only six students, but it grew rapidly.
By 1885 with 234 students, the school needed a larger facility. Ms. Laney appealed to the national Presbyterian Church to no avail. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Laney received word that Francine Haines, President of the Woman’s Department of the Presbyterian Church, had donated $10,000 for the school.
Chartered in 1886 and named after its benefactor, Haines Normal and Industrial Institute opened in a building on Gwinnett Street (Laney—Walker Boulevard). Students at Haines learned classics such as Latin, algebra, art, music, various trades, and even sports. The first black nursing school in Augusta, the Lamar School of Nursing, started at Haines.
The Haines Normal and Industrial School closed in 1949. Most of the buildings were razed, and the Lucy Craft Laney Comprehensive High School was erected on the site. The Cauley—Wheeler Memorial Building constructed in 1924 is the only remaining building from Haines and serves as headquarters for the Haines Alumni Association.
The Preservation of a Legacy
Ms. Laney dedicated her life to providing educational opportunities for Black youth in the Augusta area. Ms. Laney was the founder of the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute which was located on the present site of the Lucy Laney Comprehensive High School.
She started the first kindergarten for Black children in Augusta and founded the Lamar School of Nursing for black women. The Lucy Laney High School, Laney Walker Boulevard (formerly Gwinnett Street) and the Laney Walker North Historic District have all been named in Ms. Laney's honor. Now through the restoration of her home by Delta House, Inc., another important cultural institution has been dedicated in her memory. The museum is open to all!
Throughout Miss Laney’s life until her death in 1933, her accomplishments and dedication to education earned her many honors, including honorary degrees from universities. Gwinnett Street was renamed Laney—Walker Boulevard honoring her and Rev. Dr. Charles T. Walker, founder of Tabernacle Baptist Church.
She has the distinction of being one of only a few African Americans to have their portrait hanging in GA’s State Capitol. Miss Laney is also a “Georgia Women of Achievement” recipient.
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum
It is the only African American Museum in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA, Augusta and its Surrounding Areas). The museum, which opened in 1991, is a small house museum that was the former home of Miss Lucy Craft Laney.
The museum is located in the Historic Laney-Walker District, near the original site of the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute. The mission of the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is to promote the legacy of Ms. Lucy Craft Laney through arts and history. We accomplish this awesome task by educating and exposing children and adults of the CSRA, the State and beyond to the arts, history, literature and leadership through exhibits and programs.
While you're visiting the Lucy Craft Laney Museum, take a moment to stroll through our beautiful Period Garden. The garden was encouraged by Mrs. Hertha Blount and created as an addition to the museum in 1995. A student from the University of Georgia Horticulture Department designed the space to include plants that would have grown there during Ms. Laney's life time. These plants include Dogwoods, Irises, Roses, and Azaleas.
Museum: Tuesday-Friday: 9 am to 5 pm - Saturday: 10 am to 4 pm - Sunday: open for special events and by request. Closed on Mondays. Conference Center: Tuesday-Friday, 10 am to 5 pm. Call for admission fee for museum and conference center.
Museum & Conference Center Phone & Location
Phone: 706-724-3576 - Address: 1116 Phillips St., Augusta Georgia