Freedmen's Church

NEEDWOOD CHURCH | GLYNN COUNTY GEORGIA | c. 1870s

As the Civil War came to a close, the longer more enduring struggles were just beginning as the citizens of our Nation worked to navigate their newly defined reality. As laws, norms, and roles shifted, the most intrepid of Americans worked to carve a place for themselves and a future for their families.

In 1866, just one year after the war had ended, a group of ex-slaves from the Broadfield Plantation in Georgia started a small Baptist congregation where they could worship freely for the first time, and over the next 10 years, they built this church. Updated in 1885 and moved to its current site, it is one of the best preserved and oldest examples of African American Vernacular architecture in Georgia. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Sitting just beside it is this one room school house, built in 1907 which offered the only option to the community for elementary education until desegregation in the 1960’s.

Imagine for a minute how it must have felt to have been able to openly observe their faith for the first time. And how proud they must have felt as the preacher gave his first sermon within these four walls. This church and school represent so much in regards to southern history and how fortunate for us that it still stands to remind us.

 

 

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