When we seekers embark on our journeys of self-discovery, it's never without some trepidation, but in the end we can't help ourselves. We are impelled to fill in the blanks and find our truth - whatever that may turn out to be. For better or worse, some of us just can't let go until we satisfy that life-long curiosity.
At least that's what I thought going into this adventure. I thought that if I could at least find the names of my birth parents, I'd be satisfied and thankful. Well, I did and I am, but I never imagined that the answers would continue to flow and that tributaries would form leading me further into the past than I dared to dream. My paternal search led quickly to the discovery of two great grandparents who were born into slavery in the 1840's. Each the child of a slave owner and enslaved woman, my bi-racial great grandparents met in Lauren's county Georgia during or shortly after the Civil War. My great grandmother Amelia was born on the Harvard Plantation called Laurens Hill in Dublin, GA in 1847. Her future husband William Lowther was born nearby on the Lowther Hall plantation which was destroyed by fire many years ago. By the time of Emancipation she had moved into the home of her half-sister as a servant, bequeathed so by their mutual father. Her younger siblings, however, still remained in her late father's home and her white half-brothers refused to let them leave with their mother. Well, Amelia's mother promptly fetched the Union Army who escorted her personally to retrieve her babies.
Fast forward 150 years to a family reunion in Dublin a few weeks ago, and behold that same house is still standing in nearly original condition save for electrical and indoor plumbing additions, and (gasp) it is for sale! Not yet on the state and federal historical registers, our family possesses the narratives and public records to qualify this property for those designations. The challenge is the acquisition. We're in the early planning stages, but our first move is to create a 501(c)(3) and obtain non-profit, tax exempt status. We hope to preserve this property for its historical significance and we would like to create a self-sustaining model that supports operating and maintenance costs. Hospitality, conference center, banquet/celebration rentals, and leasing for film production are all on the table. We are looking for sponsors and investors who are committed to historical and cultural preservation and who are capable of helping us realize our dream of making this landmark a symbol of hope, peace and social justice.
Do you have experience in non-profits, grant-writing, fund raising, or historical preservation? Do you have friends or contacts who may? Please share this with them and ask them to contact me. All donations will be tax-deductible. This is such a rare opportunity. We'd hate to see a new owner treat it as a personal vacation home and make renovations which could obliterate the amazing historical craftsmanship. Here's a video montage of our visit to this phenomenal site.