STONECREST, GA—Volunteers from Flat Rock Archive Inc., East Suburban Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill and staff members of Arabia Mountain are joining forces for special service projects at the Lyon Farm, Historic Flat Rock Cemetery and the Flat Rock Archive Museum.
The projects are being held in celebration of the Martin Luther King National Holiday on Monday, Jan. 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The organizations, their staff and families, board members, plus volunteers will perform cleanup, gardening, restorative work and other tasks at the three historic sites.
“I am so excited about the partnership with the East Suburban Atlanta Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc., and also about fulfilling the educational part of our mission. The vision is to share in the educational history of the Flat Rock Community. I look forward to this event along with the long-term relationships that are being established with this organization. We also want to extend an invitation to the public to come and tour this historic Flat Rock Museum,” said Cheryl Moore-Mathis, president of the archive museum, which chronicle the community of Flat Rock as well as the lives of African Americans in Georgia from the mid-19th century forward.
Flat Rock, Inc. is partnered with the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area Alliance (AMNHA), which will have five team members volunteering for the event.
“Flat Rock Archive and its partnership with Jack and Jill is the beginning of a true youth and family service model,” said Revonda Cosby, executive director of the AMNHA, which includes all these local sites… I’ve seen how they work and the consistency of their work that Jack and Jillers make service a lifelong commitment.”
Teens from East Suburban Atlanta’s Jack and Jill Chapter Inc., a family-centered organization with more than 260 chapters and over 50,000 members nationwide, will be lending a big helping hand to this service project.
Started in 1938, Jack and Jill of America has been instrumental in the growth and preservation of Black communities for generations. In addition to youth volunteers, the East Suburban Atlanta Chapter donated four picnic tables.
“Our organization is rooted in service to our community,” said Sha’Ronda McRae, chapter president of East Suburban Atlanta’s Jack and Jill chapter. “What better way than on a special day like Dr. Martin Luther King Day for our chapter families to be together and be of service, while also learning about our history and our culture. I am thankful that this service opportunity will leave an impression on our children to change communities.”
Volunteers will arrive by 9 a.m. at the Flat Rock Archive, and the day of community service will officially kick off under the tent promptly at 11:25 a.m.
Participants will be led on a guided tour of the Old Flat Rock Church and Cemetery, and then to the Lyon Farm, which is a former plantation where many blacks of Flat Rock were enslaved before emancipation. The slave quarters in the building’s basement is intact and visitable.
By 12:30 p.m., the entire group will head to the Flat Rock (Slave) Cemetery. The older project participants, parents and volunteers will stay and work on an hour-long clean-up of graves, marking debris, removing trash, mulching, and assembling a picnic table. All other projects, participants will return to the Flat Rock Archive Museum from 12:30 to 2 p.m. for different age- appropriate service activities and projects, such as food pantry organizing, fence painting, gardening and mulching, and other responsibilities.
Immediately following the 11a.m. program, the project participants will be led in the immersion experience room with an introduction and tour by Patricia Bryant, granddaughter of T. A. Bryant, Sr., who helped save the Flat Rock Community during The Great Migration.
“My father Rev. T. A. Bryant Jr. and my aunt Zella Bryant Guthrie donated their family home to the Flat Rock Archive, Inc. I believe they are both in heaven, rejoicing with the positive direction of their family home as a community museum. The desire of the Bryant family is to continue and carry forward the T. A. Bryant, Sr. legacy to future generations of his commitment and service to the Flat Rock community. The goal of the FRA is to continue serving the Flat Rock community for generations to come.”
From 2 to 3:30 p.m., all will gather back under the tent at the museum to enjoy a lunch prepared by an on-site chef. Jack and Jill senior youth leaders will provide an end-of-day summary on project ideas and goals, reflections, ending the evening with fun and games.