The stories of African Americans runs deep throughout Gwinnett County and a bus tour teaching residents about the rich history is happening at the end of the month.
The Gwinnett Parks Foundation is partnering with United Ebony Society to put on the tour, called Exploring the African-American Experience. Stops will include visits to the MaGuire-Livsey House, Salem Missionary Baptist Church and Hooper-Renwick School among other locations, according to the Facebook event page.
People hoping to go on the tour, which is open to all ages, should register online with the code LFS18401. Guests who attend are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch or money for a stop along the tour. Attendees will be picked up on Feb. 29 at Lawerenceville Female Seminary, home of the Gwinnett History Museum.
Along the tour, guests will learn about the Maguire-Livsey House, which in 1860 was Thomas Maguire's plantation that is known as the “Promised Land.” It spanned nearly 1,000 acres and in the 1920s, Robert Livsey bought it and approximately 100 of the surrounding acres. It went from plantation to a successful farm that played an important role in a growing black community.
There’s also the Salem Missionary Baptist Church. The church’s history said circa 1834 that Thomas Carroll instructed his slaves to build six small-framed buildings, one of which was a church. In addition to Carroll’s slaves, people enslaved by families including Pickens, McDaniel and Hunt also attended. Today, Richard B. Haynes of Gainsville serves as pastor.
Another stop on the tour, Hooper-Renwick School, was the first school opened for black children in Lawrenceville in 1895. A tornado destroyed the building in 1924 and Mack Renwick donated three acres to build a new school, where classes were in session for about 20 years. Black children were taught in the main structure from 1945 through desegregation in 1968. The school closed in the 1990s before opening as a special education school. It shuttered for a final time in the 2010s and the city of Lawrenceville halted plans to demolish it in favor of transforming it into a museum and library.
Exploring the African-American Experience in Gwinnett
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, February 29
Lawrenceville Female Seminary: 455 South Perry Street, Lawrenceville
$11 for Gwinnett County residents, $21 for non-Gwinnett residents
Contact Gwinnett History Museum at (770) 822-5178
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