SPRINGFIELD, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been more than half a century since the last time students attended Springfield Central High School.
Since then the building has been used in a variety of ways, but Friday it was remembered for how it first began.
A day that has been in the making for five years and now that it’s come.
“Well, I can finally exhale knowing that this project has been completed,” said Dr. Franklin Goldwire
Dr. Goldwire has been a driving force behind bringing this historical marker to his old school.
“I graduated in 1965,” said Dr. Goldwire.
It joins more than 14-hundred historical markers statewide but is one of just over 40 with a unique distinction.
“This marker is the newest addition to the Georgia Civil Rights Trail,” said Elyse Butler of the Georgia Historical Society.
Springfield Central High School was created as part of a statewide equalization effort to improve school buildings, yet maintain racial segregation.
Stemming from the Minimum Foundation Program under Georgia Governor Herman Talmadge in 1949.
The grade one through twelve school was built for black students and it stayed that way until 1970.
But then, “this became an integrated junior high school,” a junior high school Dr. Goldwire was Principal of for 12 years.
A school built to sustain segregation, now one of the first to end it.
“It was here where the community came together racially for the first time,” said Dr. Goldwire.
Even as the school building ages, the lessons current county leaders can still find in its presence and its history remain.
“It reminds us that separation and segregation does not bring the grace, love and unity you want for your community. We are better together,” said Effingham County Commission Chairman Wesley Corbitt.
So, if you have a chance, head back to this old school and you just might see what it still has left to offer.
“I see a lot of memories, I see a lot of possibilities, I see where this school can continue to still be of service to the community,” said Dr. Franklin.
As for the future of the old Springfield Central High building, the county is planning to begin hosting events there over the next couple of years.