Who is Georgia Washington

Georgia Washington was born a slave in Virginia. When she was a small child, she and her mother and brother were sold away from her father. After emancipation, her mother had to work out of the home and Georgia Washington had to be responsible for the other children and the household duties. The discipline required of her at an early age undoubtedly played an important part in her selection of a life work. Georgia Washington’s duties in the home prevented her from attending school and she often watched other children going to and from school and longed to be with them. She had a strong desire for knowledge and felt that the time would come when she, too could attend school.

Her mother had somewhere learned the alphabet and some few words, mostly from the Bible, and she taught these to her daughter. Georgia Washington made the most of the instruction that her mother gave her and it was a proud day for her when she could read the bible. This daily companion served in part to satisfy her active mind and its principles became so instilled in her that they molded her life thereafter.

With the help of a local school teacher, Miss Washington’s mother was persuaded to allow her to go to school for a few months in1876. Georgia Washington had scored another triumph. She had learned to write with pen and ink. Despite family hardships, a series of hard won triumphs followed.

Georgia Washington attended Hampton University and graduated in 1882 and then joined the teaching staff at Hampton. Miss Georgia Washington set out to recognize her dream and establish a school in Mt .Meigs Alabama.

When Miss Washington arrived in the village of Mt. Meigs in 1893 it was cotton picking time. She found that no place had been provided for her or the school. The pastor of the church gave her lodging for the first month. By October 1893, she had rented a cabin, 12’x13’, and opened the public village school at Mt. Meigs with an enrollment of four small boys. Shortly afterward enrollment had increased so much they moved into the Antioch Baptist Church. During her first year at Mt. Meigs, Miss Washington lived alone in a cabin she had rented for herself about a quarter of a mile from the school. By February the people had bought and paid for two acres of land and built a small school house, 18’by 36’. The enrollment that first year was one hundred.

Georgia Washington’s dream of planting a school in the wilderness was being realized. By 1916 the Peoples Village School had grown from an enrollment of four small boys and one teacher to an enrollment of 225 students and five teachers. From having no place at all, there was a two-story school house with three recitation rooms, an assembly hall, and rooms for teaching industries to both boys and girls. Changes were occurring in the Mt. Meigs community during this time. In 1932, the life of Mt. Meigs was centered on the church and the school. The All students were required to assume some work responsibility at the school in addition to classroom activities. The results could be seen in the clean, neat, well kept appearance of the school and its grounds. The school is credited with having the first electric lights in Mt. Meigs and, at one time, the big school bell served as a clock for the community.

In 1936, after 43 years of dedicated service, Georgia Washington retired. Miss Washington spent her retirement living in her same residence quarters at the Peoples Village School. She saw change and progress continue and she continued to work among the people of Mt. Meigs until her death in 1952. She was buried where she had lived and worked on the school campus. At the time of her death, the school that stands on the site of the Peoples Village School was renamed Georgia Washington High School in her honor.

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