Civil Liberties at Dorchester Cooperative Center 1940 – present

In an effort to involve Liberty County African Americans in politics, the Dorchester Cooperative Center (DCC) began to help organize African American Voters. The DCC taught local African Americans the United States and Georgia constitutions, followed the activities of state and national representatives, charted how legislators voted on issues, interviewed candidates for office, and discussed issues and community goals. They also instructed citizens on how to mark ballots and general behavior at the polls. In 1953, the DCC formed a branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1961, they gained national attention when the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), in cooperation with the American Missionary Association (AMA), established ” Leadership Training Programs and Citizenship Schools” at Dorchester Academy to train grass roots leaders from throughout the South. These leaders would go back to their communities to organize and train others. Some of the influential SCLC leaders who frequented the DCC were SCLC Educational Director Dorothy Cotton, supervisor of teacher training Septima Clark, and Citizenship Program Administrator Andrew Young. Notable civil rights leaders who attended DCC programs included Ralph Abernathy, Wyatt Walker, and Dr.Kartin Luther King Jr. King’s biographer

By Mike Stroud, July 6, 2008

2. Dorchester Academy’s Elizabeth B. Moore Hall

David L. Lewis contends that King planned his 1963 Birmingham campaign while staying at Dorchester Academy in Elizabeth B. Moore Hall. Although DCC membership has steadily declined, the organization now known as the Dorchester Improvement Association (DIA), still exists and continues to educate and support African Americans in Liberty County.

The Power of Cooperation
The people of the Dorchester Cooperative Center understood that in order to make even the smallest difference everyone had to do their part. When the Farmers Co-op at the Center wanted to buy a tractor, twenty families pooled their resources and purchased their own cooperatively owned tractor. The debt on the tractor was completely repaid within the next three years.

Picture caption reads:
“Dorchester Co-op farmer with new tractor”

Erected by City of Flemington.