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Content & Approach

How did the African American community manage to survive, and even make gains in their quest for greater freedom and autonomy?

Thomasville, Georgia is the site of a unique set of landmarks that will provide an understanding of the continuity and change in the struggle of African Americans during the long civil rights movement from 1865 to the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954. Attendees will visit sites such as the Jack Hadley Black History Museum, the Imperial Hotel, a lodging listed in the Green Book that is undergoing renovation, the First Missionary Baptist Church, one of the oldest African American houses of worship in Southwest Georgia, and the gravesite of the first African American graduate of West Point, Henry O. Flipper.

This one-week workshop will consider the essential role of the African American community in supporting the rise of Thomasville as an elite tourist resort during the Gilded Age (1870-1906). We will visit Pebble Hill Plantation, built by a prominent Northern business leader, to discover the ties that this hunting plantation and others had with the African American community. And our host institution will be the Thomasville History Center which tells the history of the Red Hills Region and has an extensive archival collection that will complement many of our discussions.

One of the overarching questions we will address in visiting historic landmarks, viewing relevant material objects, and reading documents, is “how did the African American community manage to survive, and even make gains in their quest for greater freedom and autonomy?” The history of the era is one not only of repression but also one of resilience. The African American community of Thomasville built and sustained institutions, most notably churches, schools, fraternal societies, civic clubs and recreational facilities as well as a thriving business district, “the Bottom.” We will consider Thomasville’s connections with several African Americans including native, Henry Flipper, and former Thomasville pastor Andrew Young as well as nationally recognized leaders: Frederick Douglas and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Important Dates

Application Deadline: March 3, 2023

Acceptance/Regrets: April 3, 2023
Accept/Decline Offer: April 14, 2023
Waitlist Accept/Regrets: April 15, 2023

Session I: July 9-14, 2023
Session II: July 23- July 28, 2023


Thomasville History Center
725 N Dawson St,
Thomasville, GA 31792