Springfield Community Center, Inc.
1935 picture courtesy of the Georgia Archives, 5800 Jonesboro Rd. Morrow, Georgia 30260
Springfield Log Cabin represents an era when Black people came into our own, purchased land, owned businesses, gained status, and recognized their importance; family, home, and education. After the first public school, located on the Springfield Baptist Church lawn, outgrew its purpose, the board of trustees and Jeanes Supervisor raised funds, cut the timber off their property, and built this magnificent building.
From 1937 until 1955, it was used for African American students until the state bused all students to the county school. We were no longer used as a school; the Masonic Lodge and other organizations used it for meetings etc.
THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA
The principal and teachers at the local African American school were helping people register to vote. The Superintendent of the Taliaferro School System did not renew their contracts. A boy cot began.
The area was the site of non-violent protests and demonstrations to support integration and better opportunities for local children. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) came to Crawfordville to show their support.
Springfield Log Cabin was the center of the effort. It is the only known Freedom School in Georgia. The goal was to build confidence in the African American population, improve socioeconomic status, and teach academics. Staffing for the Freedom School, Head Start, and Day Care in the Log Cabin was by the SCLC's Citizen Education Program (CEP), and Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) volunteers.
Two federal court cases resulted from the school protest. In Turner v. Goolsby, the court ruled that it was illegal to use public funds to bus white students to adjoining counties while refusing to bus black students.
The U.S. Supreme Court case, Turner v Fouche, argued October 20, 1966, and decided January 19, 1970, changed the method used to select jurors and school board members.
Nearing the end of the Civil Rights Era, Randolph T. Blackwell, taking leave from SCLC to form the Southern Rural Action Project (SRAP), created Crawfordville Enterprise with the help of Taliaferro County's local leaders. The Log Cabin would be used as the textile mill and silk-screening operation, creating jobs and employment for the community. This building was used for a couple of years until the board of directors secured a larger one.
As board members passed away and new people moved to the neighborhood, it became confusing who owned the building, and the litigation process began to straighten the confusion. During this time, the building was not being used and began to decay. Putting the legal matter behind them, 1998 the board organized as a 501(c)3 non-profit seeking to restore the structure and place it into use. The founding president of the board died in 2007, and the board struggled with the direction.
In 2016 new board members were added, fundraisers began, money was raised, and the trustees secured a grant to create brochures and rack cards.
That same year Springfield School: Union Point, Taliaferro County, received a letter from the Georgia Department of Natural resources historic preservation division stating, "We are pleased to convey that the property appears to meet the criteria for listing in the National Register under National Register Criterion A in the areas of Ethnic Heritage-Black and Education, and Criterion C in the area of Architecture."
2017 we presented a significant crowdfunding event with Emmy award-winning producer, motivational speaker, and author Angela Harrington-Rice that included a fundraising dinner.
2019 We won the Georgia Trust Places in Perils nomination and updated the by-laws.
2021 We participated in a visioning charrette with Ethos Preservation and ordered a complete condition assessment of the building with Landmark Preservation. The condition assessment will give us a clear picture of the building condition and help us prioritize our next steps.
We added a community garden to the property to offer fresh vegetables and exercise to the community. Taliaferro County lacks a grocery store, and one must travel to the neighboring county. To compensate and save on travel and gas, we offer a way to grow and harvest fresh produce.
We also plan to add a walking trail and be a part of the Civil Rights Trail.
We have applied for and will continue to apply for grants, but we hope you partner with us to restore this legacy as a repository and community center. Your help is greatly appreciated. Would you please commit yourself to help us obtain our goal
Terry V Howard, CEO
- Wyleena Harris, Secretary
- Merolyn Stewart McGadney
- George Turner
- Geoffrey Turner
- Aaron Bowman, Sr., Treasurer
- Michael S Bowman, Sr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees
- Terry Howard, CEO