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Willow Hill Center hosts William James’ family 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday
W Willow Hill Marker
A tour of the Scarboro Grove Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery this Saturday, April 20, will continue the Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center’s series of monthly tours of African-American cemeteries. - photo by AL HACKLE/Staff

The Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center near Portal is hosting a public meet-and-greet reception from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. Tuesday for descendants of Professor William James, Statesboro-area African American education pioneer.

James came to Bulloch County in 1907 and worked with local citizens to found the Statesboro High Industrial School, serving as its principal until his death in 1935. It was renamed William James High School in 1948.

James’ granddaughter Dr. Carolyne Jordan and her husband Dr. Lawrence M. Jordan of Massachusetts, as well as James’ granddaughter Claire Lamar Carey, of Delaware, and great-granddaughter Patricia Parrish Stokes, of Illinois, are visiting the area this week. Their journey is part of a family initiative to ensure that the memory of Professor James is preserved in the area.

Monday, these descendants met with Bulloch County Historical Society leaders in Statesboro and discussed the placement of a William James historical marker near the original school site, and other steps.

Willow Hill Center leaders were then scheduled to travel with the descendants to the burial site of Professor James and his wife, Julia James, at Historic St. Paul Primitive Baptist Church in Bartow on Tuesday morning, March 12, before returning to the Willow Hill Center, in the historic Willow Hill School at 4235 Willow Hill Road, for the reception.

The center also houses an exhibit on the history of the William James School. 

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