Flat Rock, one of the oldest African-American communities in the state of Georgia and a part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, is the subject of a new exhibit created by the DeKalb History Center and the Flat Rock Archives.
The exhibit, Deep Roots in DeKalb: The Flat Rock Story of Resilience, opens in Decatur on Feb. 28. As visitors learn about the people of Flat Rock and DeKalb County, they will discover a story of strength, ingenuity and resilience that continues to this day.
From the days of enslavement to its rise as a close-knit agricultural community, Flat Rock thrived because of the selflessness of its leaders and the communal bond of its citizens. The community was founded in 1822 with the birth of DeKalb County. The first post office was built in 1837; the area became Lithonia, Georgia in 1856. Following the Civil War, some African-American families remained in the community of Flat Rock, working together to ensure success and safety in rural Georgia, according to historians. One of the local leaders, T. A. Bryant, Sr., was pivotal in ensuring the successful development of this African-American community, purchasing and providing land to local families. Though dogged by marginalization and animosity, the people of Flat Rock flourished.
The new exhibit at the DeKalb History Center was developed in partnership with the Flat Rock Archives, an organization dedicated to preserving Flat Rock and DeKalb County’s history and cultural legacy.
“We are looking forward to the number of people that will learn about DeKalb County’s African-American history,” said Johnny Waits, president and co-founder of the Archives. “The exhibit will be up for two years, and we hope that we can draw more interest in black history in DeKalb County.”
The DeKalb History center will host an opening reception on Thursday, Feb. 28, 6-8 p.m. at the Historic DeKalb Courthouse, 101 East Court Square, Decatur. The reception is free and open to the public.