AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta is a city filled with rich black history. Now, with the help of technology, you can take a virtual walking tour and discover the hidden history all around you.
Black History Month may be over, but thanks to the Golden Blocks Virtual Tour, years of history is right at your fingertips. We sat down with historian Corey Rogers who told us why having access to black history is so important.
“In the 21st century, I think that for public history to be properly interpreted, you also have to keep in mind the digital facet of the society that we live in. So, when we sat down and created the concept for a public art initiative on Laney Walker, originally we had no idea we would create a digital app; but as things evolved and shape and change you get like four or five creative minds in a room and light bulbs start going off and you’re bouncing ideas off one another. Eventually it came to us that one of the 21st century ways to tie in public art with the community would be to create a digital app and we applied for a grant through Emory University and received the grant and essentially those who frequent Laney Walker, once they open the app, it will give them thirty or forty spots that they can see,” said Rogers.
The app takes you on a journey through the Golden Blocks. At each stop the user is given historical facts and information about homes, churches, and more.
“One of the first places I usually start at is the churches in Augusta. I think that some people know about Augusta’s religious connections to the Baptist church and to the CME church and some of the origins of those particular denominations; but I usually start with the churches because, for the African-American experience, the church was so much more than a religious go to. If you look at the history of the black experience, a lot of our educational institutions, a lot of politics, many of our businesses started out of churches,” said Rogers.
Taking the Golden Blocks Tour allows you to see Augusta like you’ve never seen it before. We took the tour ourselves, walking down Laney Walker Boulevard and were surprised to find out the amount of history surrounding us.
“Ware High School was the first African-American High School established in the state of Georgia. Springfield Baptist Church is considered the oldest African-American church of continuous service in the United States. Springfield saw the development of the Georgia Equal Rights Association, that’s the Republican Party of Georgia today, established in Augusta,” said Rogers.
“The app sort of reminds people just how important this neighborhood is. I think that’s important in the public history arena that we tell the stories and bring these people to life,” said Rogers.
To take the Golden Blocks Virtual Tour yourself CLICK HERE.
Our interview with Corey Rogers was so educational that we had put it on here for everyone to see! Enjoy!