Davis’ legacy lives onMost students overlook the historic homes on Clark Street, not understanding the immense history that occurred within their walls. This rings true for one house in particular: 301 S. Clark St.
Sallie Ellis Davis, one of the most influential African American educators of her time, resided in the one story, white antebellum home throughout the duration of her life, until her passing in 1950. Davis dedicated her time and efforts to teaching children in the Milledgeville area not only about academics, but about life skills as well.
Davis even opened up her home to rural children who were unable to attend school, caring and providing for their everyday needs. When Davis passed away, Georgia College felt a need to keep her legacy alive.
After purchasing Davis’ home, GC began transforming the space into the beautifully renovated cultural arts center that it is today.
The home now features a room for exhibits, a re-creation of Davis’ parlor, a re-creation
of Davis’ classroom and a general meeting room that is available for student and community rental.
“We want to make this building as inclusive as possible. We want to open this space for a wide variety of campus uses and community uses as well,” Matthew Davis, Sallie Ellis Davis House supervisor and Governor’s Mansion curator, said. “To rent this space, simply contact the Sallie Ellis Davis House or send a request through the Georgia College room reservation system, R25.”
The re-creation of Davis’ parlor includes the same furniture Davis used for years in the home. The classroom is true to the times as well, including a copy of Davis’ actual gradebook, where patrons can view her daily attendance and grade marks.
“I’ve enjoyed the furnishings in the house and find them very interesting,” Deitrah Taylor, program assistant for the Sallie Ellis Davis House, said. “The lighting system and porcelain door knobs are very evocative of the time period. There is something about the simplicity that is very attractive and indicative of her story.”
The traveling exhibit “From the Minds of African Americans” is currently being featured in the exhibit room of the home. This exhibit originated at the Tubman Museum in Macon, Ga., and describes some of the more interesting inventions and contributions to society made by influential African Americans.
“We have received very positive feedback so far on the house, not only from descendants of Ms. Davis but from her former students and community members as well. We are very happy with this reaction and hope to continue to build upon those relationships,” Davis said.
GC students are already enjoying many features of the newly restored home and recognize the importance of Davis’ career.
“The use of this house is a great way to continue Sallie’s legacy. She would want her home to be used for educational purposes,” Natalie Compton, junior nursing major, said.
The future of the Sallie Ellis Davis home is promising. The Davis team is currently working on promotional efforts to spread the word of the home and its various uses.
“With the staff that we have now, we are working on developing programs for the house,” Davis said. “We want this to be a very active center. In the future, I see this home being used on a daily basis.”