kids encyclopedia robot

Flat Rock, Georgia facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Flat Rock is a historic African American community in DeKalb County, Georgia. It is located within the city of Lithonia, as well as the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Flat Rock is believed to be the oldest African American settlement in DeKalb County and one of the oldest in Georgia. It began as an agricultural community bounded by the large South, Lyon, and Johnson farms. After emancipation, many former slaves stayed in the area, building schools, churches, and civic organizations. The community remained intact through The Great Migration and is the site of Flat Rock Archives and a historic cemetery.

History

The oldest known record of Flat Rock is found on an 1822 map. Flat Rock is not noted on any maps after 1865, likely because of the growing nearly town of Lithonia. The community continued to exist and was never incorporated. The community began as an African American settlement likely due to the surrounding slave-holding farms. After emancipation, former slaves had no means to move elsewhere. Some of the first families were the Bryant, Ford, Henderson, Holt, Reid and Waites families. The Flat Rock post office was the only government presence in the community until its closure in 1900. Flat Rock was the location of the area's first churches that welcomed both black and white members.

During the Great Migration, Flat Rock resident, T.A. Bryant Sr. saw the need to keep the community together by encouraging others to stay in Flat Rock. He purchased 45 acres for $600 and sold it in pieces to family members and others so they could stay in the area. In an interview for NPR, Henry Louis Gates stated that "[Bryant] was trying to give them a stake in the South, a reason to stay, 'cause they were not going to own property in Pittsburgh, Detroit or Cincinnati, in Philadelphia or New York."

Flat Rock remained isolated until the 1940s. Telephone and electricity lines reached the community during the War Years, but man roads remained unpaved even until the 1980s.

Flat Rock Archives

Flat Rock archives is located in the home built by T.A. Bryant Sr., donated by Reverend T.A. Bryant Jr. The archives were established as a museum and resource to genealogical and historic researchers as well as a heritage tourism site. In addition to preserving and cataloging artifacts, records, and oral histories related to the slaves, former slaves, and their descendants in the community, the Flat Rock Archive maintains the nearby Flat Rock Slave Cemetery as a part of their mission. The archive is currently open to the public every Tuesday, and tours are available with the archive's president, Johnny Waits.

kids search engine
Flat Rock, Georgia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.