The Good Shepherd Episcopal Church was built in 1928, and the little parochial school next door, built in 1901. Both were founded by Deaconess Anna Alexander, consecrated in 1907 as the only African American deacon in the Episcopal denomination. Her headstone is in the foreground above. Her story is one of dedication, service and determination to serve her coastal community of Pennick, located near St. Simons Island. The schoolhouse served as both school and church in the early 1900s as well as living quarters for Deaconess Alexander who lived on the premises. The school has long been closed but the church is still active.
The school is particularly significant. There are only a handful of these old African American church-sponsored school structures left in Georgia, but they are historically important. After the Civil War, emancipated African Americans, who had not been allowed to read or write, were determined to obtain education for their children. Their struggle for access to education in pursuit of a better life, began a long journey that is significant in southern history, and the history of our nation. This school began as one of those one room schools. Another room was added at a later date. This older building then served as both the Good Shepherd Church as well as an onsite residence for Deaconess Alexander.
For more information, contact The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.