The Newberry Foundation was established to honor the Newberry family’s legacy in middle Georgia, which spans more than two centuries from slavery to the 21st century. Since 2010, the Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, has worked to preserve the Black history in Hawkinsville, their ancestral home, build community and provide educational opportunities.
The Foundation created and runs The Hawkinsville African American Heritage Center, a Black history museum, and the adjacent Plough and The Pew Reading Room, middle Georgia’s largest collection of Black history publications. These resources are located on Commerce Street, which once was the town’s white business epicenter but is now home to many Black-owned businesses. The Foundation also operates a community Garden in Hawkinsville.
The Foundation was created and is led by Julius Johnson, a seventh-generation descendant of the Newberry family who is a historian and served overseas in the U.S. Department of State in war-torn countries to win “hearts and minds.” The Foundation is seeking to partner with like-minded organizations committed to civic engagement and fostering democracy in Middle Georgia.
In addition to its museum and reading room, the Foundation has redeveloped office space that can serve as a regional hub and home for other non-profits and community-building efforts. The Foundation welcomes partners and support to anchor Middle Georgia’s continued growth.