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The founding of Dorchester Academy
History of Liberty
Floyd Snelson
Floyd Nelson was the first minister and principal of the school.
Dorchester Academy in Midway was founded by the American Missionary Association immediately after the Civil War.
The academy was a school for black, slave children who had been not given an opportunity for a good education. Floyd Snelson was the first minister and principal of the school.
Later, it became a school that focused on teaching reading and writing to free men. This was an historical event for Liberty County because, since the Ante-Bellum days, the state of Georgia forbade black people to be able to read or write.  
In 1932, a fire destroyed the 1890s school and the AMA, owners of the academy at that time, rebuilt the dormitory.
The dormitory is the last of the boarding schools of that era.
The school is a brick, two-story building designed in the Georgian Revival Style.
“Dorchester Academy” is inscribed on the top of the iron gate at the entrance of the academy. This was dedicated to the school by the class of 1927. In 1947, the brick building to the east of the school was built to house the pastor and is now used as the home to the Dorchester Academy Museum of African American History.
Between 1961 and 1970, thousands of southern African Americans were given the proper tools of education to pass the voter registration tests. This was sponsored through the Southern Christian Leadership Council who used Dorchester Academy as the headquarters for its chapter.
In 1963, Dorchester Academy was the two-day meeting place for the Project “C” plans for an organized strike against segregation in Birmingham, Ala. that was, at the time, the most segregated city in the South.
The academy was also the training site for the Citizenship Education Program that established nearly 900 citizenship schools throughout the South by providing education to aide in the receiving of full citizenship.
Dorchester Academy was also associated with African-American leaders who participated in the great historical Civil Rights Movement that aided in the passage of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965.
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