Exploring Augusta's Rich Roots

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
News 12 This Morning

AUGUSTA, Ga.(WRDW/WAGT) -- When you're walking down any sidewalk it's likely you'll run across a few pennies but, when it's in front of one of the most historic buildings in downtown Augusta it may just be your lucky day.

Corey Rogers, staff historian, at the Lucy C. Laney Museum of Black History says,
"The Old Penny Savings bank sat in the middle of an area that many Augustan's knew as the golden blocks of Augusta."

The Penny Savings bank was the first black owned financial institution in Augusta.
Rogers says it was founded in the early 1900s by prominent African Americans.
This was fifty years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves yet, African Americans still struggled to gain independence.

"That building which stands as a reminder, reminds me of the fact that African Americans didn't only survive but they thrived," Rogers explains.

The old bank sits on the corner of James Brown boulevard and Laney Walker boulevard but, the entire strip of Laney Walker is home to tons of history.
To name a few; A.R. Johnson Magnet School, Tabernacle Baptist Church, The Lucy C. Laney Museum of African American History.
The list goes on and all of these ventures took money.

Coey Rogers tells News 12,
"Thrift was a big to do with many of these individuals. Saving money, buying land, owning property, these things were important to a community that couldn't do these things just thirty years earlier."

Through the years,the city had its fair share of ups and downs, integration stirred many away but, Rogers says it may get back to its rich roots.

"Within the next ten to fifteen years I see a positive move in this area between the old and the new," Rogers explains.

So, the next time you're walking along Laney Walker Boulevard take a look around...you may find more than just pennies.