SPRINGFIELD, Ga., Sept. 23, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- One of the first properties ever purchased and settled by former slaves in the state of Georgia will be officially designated as a historic site by the Georgia Historical Society during celebration ceremonies on Saturday, October 9, 2004. Through the coordination of the Camilla and Zack Hubert Foundation, Inc., the Hubert Family descendants will be joined by several prominent federal, state and local government dignitaries as well as community residents for a dedication ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. at the Springfield Baptist Church, located on Springfield Road in Springfield, Georgia, approximately 100 miles southeast of Atlanta. The ceremony will be immediately followed by a march across the road to the site of the Hubert Family Homestead for the unveiling of a historic marker.
"This is an occasion of which the Hubert Family, the entire state of Georgia, and the nation can be proud," stated Dr. Clinton Warner, president of the Camilla and Zack Hubert Foundation, Inc. "Through hard work, perseverance, faith in God, and unwavering commitment to family values, Camilla and Zack Hubert became pillars of their rural community and made tremendous contributions to African-American heritage. The preservation of their legacy richly edifies us all as individuals, families, and citizens," Warner added.
Georgia Historical Society Program Coordinator Christy Crisp stated, "We are very happy to be involved in the installation of the historical marker for the Camilla and Zack Hubert Homestead, and in bringing attention to the contributions of this remarkable family. The Georgia Historical Marker Program is an outstanding tool for preserving the history of the State of Georgia. Historical markers serve to educate citizens and visitors alike about the people and events which have shaped our past and present."
In 1865, the former slaves of Matthew Hubert II -- including a young Zack Hubert, his five brothers, two sisters, and parents Jincy and Paul -- freely departed the Hubert plantation in the rural town of Warrenton in Warren County, Georgia. The black family took with them a bale of cotton, which they sold to buy farming supplies and pay rent to live on another property in Warren County. The former slave family eventually relocated to the town of Springfield in Hancock County, Georgia, where Zack grew up and turned a profit farming land that his family rented.
In 1872, Zack heard that a local white lawyer named Burke was willing to sell land to blacks. He purchased 165 acres -- an unprecedented transaction during that era of relentless racial segregation. The terms of the agreement called for Zack to pay Burke $550 annually for three years. After the family had cleared the land and begun construction of a homestead, Burke informed Zack that the land sale was illegal because there had been no witnesses. Some historians believe that Burke was attempting to dupe Zack to continue to improve the land so it could be sold to white buyers at a higher price. With help from another white lawyer named Poulton Thomas of Crawfordville, Georgia, Zack's ownership of the property was legally validated in 1876.
Zack donated a portion of the land and helped raise funds to build Springfield Baptist Church, which still stands across the road from the Hubert Family Homestead. With the help of neighbors, Zack also built a log cabin school and a general store on other portions of property that were donated to the community.
Zack Hubert and the former Camilla Hillman from the Hillman Plantation in Springfield were married in 1873. The couple raised twelve children who all attended historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). All seven of the Huberts' sons -- John Wesley, Zachary Taylor, Moses, Gaddus Johnson, James Henry, Benjamin Franklin, and Theodore -- graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta. The four oldest daughters -- Beatrice, Jency, Lucy, and Esther -- graduated from Spelman College, also in Atlanta. The youngest Hubert daughter Mabel graduated from Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi, where her older brother Zachary Taylor (1878-1958) had been installed as president in 1915.
Among the other children of Camilla and Zack Hubert:
-- Benjamin Hubert (1887-1959) was president of another HBCU -- Georgia State College (now Savannah State University). On his own property located across the road from his parents' homestead, he built the Log Cabin Center and dedicated it to the memory of his parents. The facility served as a summer school extension of Georgia State while he was president. Many statewide agricultural and educational organization meetings, health clinics, and other community programs also were hosted at the center. The facility is now owned by the Association for the Advancement of Negro Country Life, Inc. Two of Camilla and Zack's grandsons, Dr. Willis J. Hubert and Dr. Clinton E. Warner, serve on the association's board of directors. -- Gaddus Johnson (1884-1952) was an ordained minister and served in the pulpits of Green Street Baptist Church and Metropolitan Baptist Church in Atlanta; Metropolitan Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia; Tremont Temple Baptist in Macon, Georgia, and Springfield Baptist Church in Springfield, Georgia. -- John Wesley (1875-1945) was a professor of natural sciences at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. After several years, he returned to Springfield, Georgia to organize and supervise the Log Cabin Farm School located near the Hubert Family Homestead. He secured a grant from the Julius Rosenwald Foundation and donated five acres of his own land for the expansion of the school. -- Beatrice (Douthard) (1876-1953) taught at Anniston Normal & Industrial College in Anniston, Alabama and at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Arkansas. She later moved to Atlanta and became the principal of the Mayson Avenue Elementary School. -- Esther (Griffin) (1894-1970) was secretary for the Tampa Urban League and then became a registered agent for the Afro-American Life Insurance Company. -- Jency (Reeves) (1880-1954) was an educational supervisor for the Anna Jeanes Foundation and traveled to schools throughout Georgia, training and supervising semi-professional teachers and ensuring adequate provisions of school supplies. -- Lucy (Bowling) (1891-1964) taught school throughout rural Georgia for many years. She later relocated to Chicago where she worked as a milliner. -- Moses (1882-1937) completed training in dentistry at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and became a farmer on his property near the Hubert Family Homestead in Springfield, Georgia. -- Theodore (1903-1990) was a professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and later became a French language instructor for the U.S. Postal Service. -- Mabel (1900 -1973) was a teacher at Hamilton High School in DeKalb County, Georgia and later became head resident at Spelman College. -- James Henry (1886-1970) served as the executive director of the New York Urban League.
Today, approximately 150 individual descendants spanning five generations of the Hubert Family reside throughout the U.S. and are engaged in a multitude of professions. The oldest living Hubert descendant is 90 years young and the youngest is six months old.
About the Camilla and Zack Hubert Foundation, Inc.: Formed in 1977, the Camilla and Zack Hubert Foundation, Inc. is a 501c(3) non-profit organization established to promote qualified 501c(3) educational institutions in the state of Georgia which are primarily devoted to the educational training of black people, and to encourage and promote the preservation of the history of black families and their accomplishments and contributions to American life in Georgia. For more information, please visit http://www.czhubert.com.
About the Georgia Historical Society: Chartered by the Georgia General Assembly in 1839, the Georgia Historical Society is a private, non-profit organization that serves as the historical society for the people of Georgia. Headquartered in Savannah, Georgia's first city, the Society is the oldest cultural institution in the state and one of the oldest historical organizations in the nation. For 160 years, GHS has fulfilled its mission to collect, preserve, and share Georgia history through a variety of exciting educational outreach programs and research services. For more information, please visit http://www.georgiahistory.com.
Leola Hubbard Camilla and Zack Hubert Foundation, Inc. (215) 646-4720 or Felicia Griffin (832) 715-8021 Christy Crisp Georgia Historical Society (912) 651-2125 or