Springfield Community Center, Inc.

         TALIAFERRO COUNTY GEORGIA

"Rebuilding a legacy."

HISTORY

After the Civil War, African American children of Springfield Community had no public school. Eventually, the community established a one-room school in the lower level of a straight up two-story building located on the grounds of Springfield Baptist Church. Sometimes, a moveable partition separated the two teachers.

In 1935, the citizens of the Springfield District of Taliaferro County collected money and bought four acres of land from a member of the community. They cut the logs from their property, and used their time, money and resources to build a large and beautiful school. Using the design from a large school in Hancock County, the finished product resembled the Rosenwald five-teacher community school plan. The classes were from pre-primer to 11th grade.

The Springfield Log Cabin School was used as a community school within the Taliaferro County School System until the county consolidated all schools in 1955. It continued as a community center.

The Civil Rights Era

In the mid sixties, Taliaferro County became the site of non-violent protests and demonstrations in support of integration and better opportunities for local children. African Americans students were displaced when they attempted to attend school with the county’s white students who were bussed outside the county. Contracts were not renewed for the principal and teachers who supported civil rights efforts. Dr. Martin Luther King, Andrew Young, and other civil rights workers came to Crawfordville to show support and organize.

The Springfield Log Cabin School was the center of the effort. It housed the only known Freedom School in Georgia. Its curriculum and purpose were based on the Mississippi Freedom Schools. The goal was to build confidence and to teach academics, voter literacy, and political organization and skills to students who were displaced or refused to attend the segregated school.

The Taliaferro county protests and media coverage caused the federal court to act. In 1966, Taliaferro County began bussing white children to schools in adjoining counties. The U.S. District Court ruled in Turner v. Goolsby that the practice was illegal.

The next school year the dual white and Colored school systems were merged into a single public system. Whites established a private church school for all its students.

The struggled continued. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Turner V. Fouche, 1970, that Taliaferro County’s methods for selecting jurors and, subsequently, school board members was illegal.

The Springfield Log Cabin School building continued to be a part of the local African-American life. For several years, beginning in 1967, the school building was used as a sewing factory and silk-screening plant making clothing under the Southern Rural Action project. This contributed to the economic empowerment of the community by providing training, jobs and income to many local residents. The School building also served as a daycare center for children of the plant’s workers. For several years thereafter, it served as a recreational and community center.

Who We Are

The Springfield Community Center, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to operate for the historical and cultural preservation and educational development of the Springfield Community and the residents of Taliaferro County Georgia.

Our mission is to conserve and restore the school and to educate the public about its history and significance. We are volunteers so every penny donated to the school goes directly to the restoration and care of the school.

Board of Directors

  • Merolyn Stewart McGadney, Chairwoman
  • George Turner
  • Geoffrey Turner
  • Aaron Bowman, Sr., Treasurer

Executive Staff

  • Michael S Bowman, Sr., President
  • Terry Howard, Director of Educational Outreach & Grant Management