Honoring Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, the Georgia Heritage Room of the Augusta Public Library has partnered with Mr. George Wingard, Program Manager for the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program at the Savannah River Site to provide free access to his documentary films, We Came A Long Way By Faith: Catholic Hill and St. James the Greater Catholic Church, and Death Rides on Every Passing Breeze: A Ground Penetrating Radar Survey of the Wesley United Methodist Church Cemetery. Both films shine a light on two little known historic African American churches in the low country of South Carolina.

We Came a Long Way By Faith: Catholic Hill and the St. James the Greater Catholic Church:

Catholic Hill, formerly known as Thompson’s Crossroads, is an area steeped in history. The predominant feature on the landscape is the 1935, gothic-revival inspired St. James the Greater Catholic Church and its recently renovated 1901 school house.

The first church on the spot was dedicated in 1832 and burned in 1856. Very little is known from that point until the 1890’s when it was learned that a group of former slaves and their descendants, with a vibrant and thriving faith, was worshipping in the area. Soon a new church and school was built. While mass was celebrated by itinerant priests twice a month at the church, the leadership flourished under the dedicated men and women of the church striving to preserve and strengthen the faith of the community on an everyday basis.
The present church, which was built in 1935, is home to a new generation of followers maintaining their strong Catholic Faith. Today’s congregation works tirelessly to preserve both the memory of those who came before them and safeguard the legacy for many generations to come.
This film will focus on the religion in South Carolina, early Catholicism, slavery, the history of St. James the Greater, and its importance to the Catholic Hill Community.

Death Rides on Every Passing Breeze: A Ground Penetrating Survey of the Wesley United Methodist Church Cemetery attempts to answer questions about the church’s two hundred year old cemetery by using the modern tools of archaeology. By comparing the oral tradition of the church which has been passed down through the generations with the scientific data produced by ground penetrating radar, questions surrounding the age of the cemetery are answered.

Please click on the links below to view the films:



Staff of the Georgia Room would like to thank Mr. George Wingard for his generosity, and continued support of the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System. In the past, Mr. Wingard has partnered with the library on exhibits and programs highlighting the many facets of our local history, including an exhibit featuring prehistoric artifacts of the many Southeastern Native American cultures that inhabited this region. Mr. Wingard also presented his award-winning and inspiring film Discovering Dave: Spirit Captured in Clay about enslaved Edgefield potter David Drake to a packed library auditorium. We look forward to future programs and exhibits!!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.