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Annual Walk to Dorchester pays homage to the past
Annual Walk to Dorchester pays homage to the past
Bill Austin makes his way to the finish line as he passes behind Dorchester Academy. Photo by Lewis Levine

Dozens worked up a sweat Saturday morning, retracing the steps taken by generations before to the Dorchester Academy.

The annual Walk to Dorchester took to the east Liberty County roads, as walkers followed the path similar to those who went to school at Dorchester Academy.

“This walk is very important to the community because this walk represents my mother’s generation when they had to walk to school,” said Dorchester Academy board member Rose Ferdinand.

Back then Dorchester was the only school where Black children could get educated. And the kids had to walk to get there.

The greatest distance was from the Briar Bay community, so the commemorative walk starts there at Briar Bay Park goes nine and a half miles to Dorchester.

The money raised from the walk goes to run the organization and continue the building’s restoration. After the school closed, Dorchester Academy became a hub for the national civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the former school as a retreat.

“They had people coming in from all over the country, planning different events, marches across the country and things like that,” Ferdinand said.

While much of the building has been restored and renovated, it has a place for the future, according to Ferdinand.

“This region is very historic as it relates to the civil rights movement and to slavery,” she said. “That history needs to be preserved and the best way to preserve is to teach it and reteach it, so it’s passed on from generation to generation.”

VIDEO: Walk to Dorchester

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