About Us

Since 1981, after a childhood of listening to the stories of his elders, Flat Rock native, Johnny Waits developed a vision to preserve the African-American history of the Flat Rock community. It was not until December 2006, that this vision came to fruition when the Flat Rock Archives officially opened to the public. 

The Archives sit within an historical landscape and currently maintain the 20th century Georgian Cottage known as the T.A. Bryant, Sr. House built in 1917. The T.A. Bryant, Sr. house was donated to the Archives by T.A. Bryant, Sr.'s son and Co-Founder T.A. Bryant, Jr. The site also includes a barn, smokehouse, and outhouse constructed throughout the 20th century. The Archives is working to secure funds to restore and protect this unique treasure of the rural historical landscape.

We strive to collect and preserve a wide range of archival material, including genealogical records, newspaper articles, photographs, maps, church records, school records, rare books, and tangible artifacts that relate to African-American history in the rural South.

 It is with great honor that the Archives has received both local and national recognition for its heritage preservation efforts through numerous awards and the honor to join the Arabia Area Heritage Alliance. Also, actor Chris Tucker, a Flat Rock community descendent was featured in the 2006  series of African American Lives featuring Dr. Henry Louis, Gates Jr. This episode is an invaluable resource to explaining Tucker's ancestry within the Flat Rock community.

 
 Co-Founder Rev. T. A. Bryant, Jr. at the Archives

Co-Founder Rev. T. A. Bryant, Jr. at the Archives

Our Board Members

We hold our Board Members in high esteem at the archives. Everyone of our members bring a special touch and unique feature to make the archives what it is today. Thank you to the following Flat Rock Archives Board Members:

  • Johnny Waits, President and Co-Founder
  • Rev. T. A. Bryant, Jr., Co-Founder
  • Vera Whitaker, Co-Founder
  • Jean Spencer, Secretary
  • Vincent Harris
  • Patricia Bryant-Hughes
  • Kelly Woodard Palakshappa

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Awards

A few examples of our rewarded efforts within the community:

  • Society of Georgia Archivists' Georgia Archives Month Award, August 2015
  • The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Award for Excellence in Preservation Service, April 2015
  • Stan Watson Community Appreciation Award, April 2008
  • Afro-American Historical and Geneaological Society Certificate of Excellence, July 2006

Flat Rock Archive Sponsors

Our Archives sponsors are an exclusive group of committed community leaders who are dedicated to our mission to preserve African-American history in the rural South.

The Flat Rock Archives would like to acknowledge and thank the distinguished organizations below that have demonstrated their invaluable commitment to us through their generous support.


Plan a Visit

 School Group Touring the Lyon House on a Field Trip

School Group Touring the Lyon House on a Field Trip

Field Trips

Are you a school, teacher, scout group, home school family or assisted living home? Contact us to book your next field trip. We can customize our tours to fit your curriculum. All ages and groups are welcome.

 Volunteer Archivist JoyEllen Freeman and President Johnny Waits Organizing Archival Materials 

Volunteer Archivist JoyEllen Freeman and President Johnny Waits Organizing Archival Materials 

Individuals

Visit the archive as an individual or family. There are many ways to enjoy the archive on a personal level. You can Sign Up for upcoming volunteer opportunities, plan a Saturday visit, and share your history with us. 

 A Few Community Members Enjoying a Day at the Historic Cemetery.

A Few Community Members Enjoying a Day at the Historic Cemetery.

Take a Cemetery Tour

Are you interested in touring the Flat Rock Historic Cemetery? Please submit an inquiry and let us know you are interested. We plan tours in the colder months. Visit Find a Grave for a list of interred individuals.