Flat Rock is one of the oldest African-American communities in Georgia, with a history that stretches from before the Civil War to the present day. The Flat Rock Archives works to protect and promote the history of this black community, which managed to successfully survive and even grow during the Jim Crow-era South.
Today, you can experience Flat Rock with Archives President and Co-Founder Johnny Waits, himself a member of the Flat Rock community. The tours are very popular: “We’ve met so many great people from all over the world on these tours – we’ve had people out here who didn’t even know English! We’ve had people from all over the world, people from the local area, we’ve had kids and adults come out here – we’re doing pretty good with these tours,” said Waits.
Here’s a breakdown of the historic sites that make up Flat Rock and that you’ll see on the tour:
The Lyon Farm
Flat Rock tours begin here, in the place where some of the community’s ancestors were enslaved. Today, the Lyon Farm is one of the oldest homesteads in the area and tells an important story about how agriculture and the institution of slavery shaped Georgia’s landscape.
The Flat Rock Cemetery
An important part of the historic community, the cemetery contains people from throughout Flat Rock’s history, from the time of enslavement into the 20th century. Part of the cemetery may also include Native American remains.
The Flat Rock Church
Although no longer standing in its original form, you can still visit the site of the Flat Rock Church, an important community space for much of Flat Rock’s history. Today, a newer building still provides a space for community members and a sign commemorates the original structure.
The Bryant Homestead
Tours end at the T. A. Bryant, Sr. Homestead, the home of one of Flat Rock’s founding members and a community leader throughout his life. Bryant, Sr. bought this parcel of land and, during the Great Migration, kept Flat Rock together by leasing or selling small parcels off to community members. That gave people a stake in the South and allowed Flat Rock to maintain its close-knit community in the face of change and marginalization.
Join a tour of Flat Rock to discover the power of one of Georgia’s oldest black community, a story of struggle and resilience that spans American history. This tour has been listed as one of Airbnb’s top African-American history tours in the United States.