The Dorseys: A Slave Legacy Exhibit opens at Holliday-Dorsey-Fife Museum

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Pictured, front row, from left, are Tea Dorsey, Rosetta Dorsey, and Thomas Dorsey. On the back row, from left, are Phenola Culbreth, Anette Wise, Carol Dorsey, Paul Dorsey Jr., Lajune Dorsey, and Marcus Dorsey. Photo/Submitted.
Pictured, front row, from left, are Tea Dorsey, Rosetta Dorsey, and Thomas Dorsey. On the back row, from left, are Phenola Culbreth, Anette Wise, Carol Dorsey, Paul Dorsey Jr., Lajune Dorsey, and Marcus Dorsey. Photo/Submitted.

The Holliday-Dorsey-Fife Museum unveiled a new exhibit July 13, The Dorseys: A Slave Legacy, which provides an interesting history of Tom Dorsey, his descendants, and the United Benevolent Aid Society (UBAS).   

The connection between the African American Dorseys and the Holliday Dorsey Fife House, traces back to slave and an essential blacksmith to Fayette County, Thomas “Tom” Dorsey. Born in 1829, Tom was raised by the second owner of the Holliday Dorsey Fife House, Solomon Dawson Dorsey. 

Eventually, Tom married a slave named Silvey Holliday, who was owned by the first owner of the Holliday Dorsey Fife House, Dr. John Stiles Holliday. As the years progressed, Tom and Silvey had a plethora of children, including the Rev. Isaac Dorsey, who helped Tom and others establish the United Benevolent Aid Society (UBAS) in 1885.

The UBAS aided local African Americans in their sickness and distress, primarily through burial insurance. Soon, the UBAS were well acclaimed throughout Georgia for its assistance to many African Americans struggling in the Jim Crow South and continued its services until it disbanded in the 1970s.