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Liberia, South Carolina

Liberia Sonic Liberation

Dearfield’s status as a “ghost town” belittles the impact the township has had on Black movement and interstate migration. Though its population was small, the town had a school, plowed streets, churches, grocery stores, and a dancehall-- vibrant sounds of life that entertained, catered to, and nourished an estimated 700 people. Founded by Oliver Touissant Jackson in 1890, a member of the National Negro Business League, he was able to convince about 27 families onto the 320 acres. Families worked together, often doing backbreaking work in nearby towns and cities like Denver to acquire farm equipment to sustain the town. As successful and inspiring as Dearfield was, it was the drought of the Dust Bowl in the 1920s and 1930s that marred the town’s end. But like many of the fallen Black towns and temporal zones, it is unfortunate that the spaces and places are viewed as quirky tourist spots, especially to those going off the beaten path, and not revered or preserved as sobering monuments.

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