Goodwill Cultural Center

OUR FEATURES

  1. JOIN US AT THE TABLE! Bren McClain, a communications specialist, will conduct a Creative Round Table for writers, musicians, and performers.
    This project is partially funded by the Sumter County Cultural Commission which receives support from the John and Susan Bennett Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.
    Goodwill Cultural Center & Southern Sampler Artists Colony Present A Creative Round Table with Bren McClain Friday, September 22, 2017—-Goodwill Parochial School 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — lunch provided

History


Goodwill Day School
Goodwill Day School (later called Goodwill Parochial School), a late nineteenth and early-twentieth century parochial school for blacks in Sumter
County, was established during Reconstruction, probably soon after Goodwill Presbyterian Church was founded in 1867. It was built in 1890 and
was used as a school until the early 1960s serving elementary and high school students.

The school was sponsored and supported by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. for over sixty years and then by Goodwill Presbyterian Church,
which stands nearby. In 1867, two years after the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States was ratified, ending slavery, 100 black
members of Salem-Black River (Brick) Presbyterian Church requested leave from the church they had attended as slaves to establish their own
church. This request was granted and with the help of Reverend Jonathan Clarkston Gibbs, a white missionary, the black members were allowed to
leave in “goodwill” and begin the construction of their church. The congregation walked two miles down Brick Church Road to where Hamilton
Gaillard Witherspoon, the owner of Coldstream Plantation, had given them a two-acre tract in 1868 near the present Dabbs’ Crossroads section of
Sumter County. On this land the members built a second sanctuary -- Goodwill Presbyterian Church, the first black Presbyterian Church in the
Sumter community.

During the same time, the Freedman’s Board of the Northern Presbyterian Church sent a group of white missionaries from the state of New York to
the area to establish a school to educate the children of the newly freed slaves. By 1872, the Committee on Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in
the U.S.A. (later the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen) reported that Goodwill, with over 350 students, was one of the three “most
active” parochial schools supported by the church in South Carolina. The two-story school was built after the church was granted 3.74 acres by
G.W.
and A.M. McBride to build a Manse and a new school building. The minister of Goodwill Presbyterian Church also served as the principal of
Goodwill Day School. The first to serve both institutions was Reverend Dr. Charles S. West (1883-1894); West was succeeded in 1895 by Dr. Irby
C. Davis, who served until 1924; and finally by Dr. Warren J. Nelson, who served 1924-1960.

By 1932, in the midst of the Depression, the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. recommended that the church
discontinue its financial support of the day schools it had long supported in the South. Goodwill Day School was “discontinued” along with thirty-
five other black parochial schools – most of them in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia – on June 1, 1933. The school did not close its doors with

the loss of its support from the national church, but continued to operate as both an elementary and high school until 1955 when the high school
students were moved into the new public high school in response to integration laws. In 1960-1961, Goodwill closed its doors having operated for
over 90 years, and the school was consolidated with Eastern School, a black public school in Sumter County School District 2.
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Goodwill  Parochial School produced many students who went on to become ministers, doctors, lawyers and business people..