Tag Archives: Georgia Black History & Culture

Shiloh Church, DeSoto

This historic church was located just outside DeSoto near Chokee Creek. The photo dates to 2008, and I think the church is gone now. I haven’t been able to track down any history of the congregation but I believe it was African-American.

Shotgun House & Billboard, Tifton

Summer 2008

I’m excited to be able to share this photograph, as it was one of my earliest, and I thought it was long lost. It’s a real favorite of mine.

The house was located in one of Tifton’s older African-American neighborhoods, right on the edge of the northbound lane of I-75. It’s probably gone by now.

Top Ten Posts of 2022

With nearly a million views, these are our most popular posts of 2022. Thanks for traveling with me and for making all this possible.

#1- House Creek Boils, Wilcox County

#2- Apartment Houses, St. Simons Island

#3- Peches Stand, Putnam County

#4- Elizabeth Durden House, 1840s, Emanuel County

#5- Hunter’s Cafe, 1951, Shellman Bluff

#6- Package Store, Jeff Davis County

#7- Best Biskits by a Dam Site, Hartwell

#8- Flint River Diving Trees, Meriwether County

#9- Amanda America Dickson House, 1871, Hancock County

#10- Stonewall J. Williams Plantation, 1880s, Screven Plantation

Cedar Grove Cemetery, Lumber City

Annie Comings [Cummings?] – (?-1928)

Cedar Grove is an historic African-American cemetery in Lumber City, across the highway from the white cemetery. It contains a mixture of vernacular and commercial markers. The headstone of Annie Comings is of a style I’ve rarely encountered, which is cruciform but also evokes a human figure or perhaps an angel.

Carrie W. White (18 August 1876-2 March 1941)

This memorial was originally in a “T” shape, which is a rare form, but not the first I’ve seen. Like most I’ve seen, it has broken over time.

Maggie [Surname unknown] – (?-1928)

This cruciform memorial is similar to that of Annie Comings but has broken over time. Sadly, the last name of Maggie has been lost.

Ned Martin (17 August 1849-8 April 1898)

This commercially made marble obelisk is unique in the cemetery. Mr. Martin’s date of birth would indicate that he was likely born into slavery.

Rachel Dailey (10 March 1853-19 December 1903)

The heart-shaped stone is a typical Victorian commercial theme. Ms. Dailey was also likely born enslaved.

Reverend Cornelia Boyd Williams (1904-1951)

Reverend Williams was a female evangelist, somewhat rare in her time.

The cemetery gate identifies those who administered and saw to the upkeep of the property. President, Albert Clements; Secretary, Gracie Quinn; Treasurer, Bessie Lee.

Landmark Lodge No. 64, Dublin

This is a Prince Hall lodge. Other affiliations include: Tri-County Chapter No. 8 of the Royal Arch Masons, and Fidelity Chapter No. 45 of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Oconee High School, 1952, Dublin

Oconee High School Gymnasium, Circa 1952

Oconee High School was the black high school in Dublin from 1952 until its closure in 1972. Like most equalization schools, it had a relatively short history, but an active national alumni association keeps its memory alive. The gymnasium, football field, and one other building [which I haven’t identified] survive, but the school itself is long gone.

Oconee High School, Unidentified Building

A marker placed by the alumni association gives a brief overview of the school’s history: In 1952, land was purchased from W. H. Lovett to build a new high school for African “colored” American students replacing Washington Street High. The school was named by Marine C. Bacote after the Oconee River nearby. It was the home of the “Mighty Trojans”, the “Blue and Gold” our sons shall ever defend. Lucius T. Bacote served as the first principal (1952-1959); he was succeeded by Charles W. Manning, Sr. (1959-1970). The school’s spirit of excellence, pride, and philosophy were the foundation for the success of African-American students during segregation.

The gymnasium and football field are still used as community resources today, as the Oconee Community Center, administrated by the Dublin-Laurens County Recreation Authority.

Dudley Motel, 1958, Dublin

This community landmark, while in sound condition, has been closed and vacant since the 1980s and was recently named, along with Dudley’s Retreat and Amoco Station No. 2, a 2023 Place in Peril by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. It’s an important resource and part of a larger story of an amazing family of entrepreneurs who provided travel options for the African-American community during the Jim Crow Era.

Mr. Herbert “Hub” Horatio Dudley (1892-1965) was the most successful black man in Dublin during his lifetime and had numerous businesses in the neighborhood. As anyone who’s seen the movie Green Book would understand, travel from town to town was dangerous during the Jim Crow Era and African-Americans relied on publications to direct them to safe places.

Mr. Dudley’s entrepreneurial spirit, along with a genuine concern for his community, led him to establish this property, which opened in 1958.

The rear of the Amoco Station [at left in this photo] was adjacent to the motel, which featured 12 rooms in several units with all the modern amenities. The Retreat cafe was also on the same property, which allowed patrons to move about more freely at a time when just being on the street after dark could be ominous. The architecture is a type of vernacular commercial construction which is quite rare in Georgia. I’ve seen similar properties in older beach communities in Florida.

As the epicenter of black culture and business in Dublin, Dudley’s Motel hosted many luminaries of the day, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Andrew Young, Ralph David Abernathy, Maynard Jackson, and other prominent figures.

I hope the property survives and perhaps becomes a museum or community resource center.

REFERENCE: I’ve already linked these sources in my other posts about the Dudley family, but I’ll share a list here. They will provide more detailed information: Laurens County African-American History; Herbert Dudley; Dudley Funeral Home; and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Dudley’s Retreat, 1940s, Dublin

This structure was built to house the growing food business of the Dudley family when Dudley Funeral Home became the sole occupant of the nearby C. D. Dudley & Sons General Merchandise building. Herbert (Hub) and Mayme Ford Dudley were already leaders of the black community of Dublin and their Retreat Cafe became a community center. Well-known entertainers, including Little Richard, James Brown, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe all visited here while traveling through Dublin. I met a nice lady while I was photographing the property who remembered Mrs. Mayme Dudley quite well.

Original neon “EAT” sign, dating to World War II

During World War II, Mr. Dudley operated a USO in this building for Black servicemen. The structure remains sound today but was listed as a 2023 Place in Peril by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation because it has been in disuse for many years.

Dudley Funeral Home, Dublin

I’ve admired this structure for many years, thinking that it must have originally been an automobile dealership, but in the process of documenting some historic properties of the Dudley family, I discovered it is actually a well-established funeral home, celebrating its centennial this year. It is one of the best-known landmarks of Dublin’s African-American community and features some of the finest commercial brickwork I’ve seen in rural Georgia.

The brickwork is what first caught my eye and is obviously the work of a very skilled mason. Dudley Funeral Home notes that the building originated as a general merchandise store circa 1900, one of the first black owned businesses in Dublin. In 1922, the funeral home was established in the store building, typical of the era. Other business originated here, as well, including a barber shop, casket showroom, and realty and investment business. During the early 1940s, the funeral home and casket business had grown to a point that they occupied the entire building; the other businesses were relocated. The present brick facade was added at this time.

Jackson Chapel C.M.E. Church, Dublin

Though I can find no indication that this church is still in use, it is a wonderfully preserved example of a town church in the two-steeple style that has come to be associated with African-American congregations.

African-American brick masons were often highly skilled and sought after in their communities and the CME relief in the eave of this church is a good example of the craft.