CAMILLA, Ga. — A Camilla nursing home that traces its history to 1941 has launched a preservation plan project.

The Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home, 176 Dyer St., was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places and described in “Going to Ms. Bea’s,” a book by J.S. LaVern.

The Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home was the private residence and workplace of third-generation African American midwife Beatrice Borders (1892-1971), who delivered more than 6,000 babies over the course of her lifetime, according to a press release about the preservation effort. Operating as a lay midwife for many years, Borders opened the Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home in 1941 in honor of her mother, establishing a safe place for expecting African American mothers to give birth. Operating throughout segregation and the Jim Crow era, the Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home was the only African American owned birthing center for expectant mothers in Georgia for over 30 years. 

“This place virtually birthed a city,” said former Camilla Mayor Mary Jo Haywood, who serves as president of Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home Inc., the organization managing the building’s preservation

Preservation plans assist in the planning and management of historic resources, the press release said. Specifically, they provide information regarding existing issues and concerns as well as recommendations for the future.

To aid restoration efforts, the group is searching for photographs of the house, from any era, and is developing a database of those born at the Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home and their descendants. Photographs shared do not have to leave their owners and can be scanned in-person. To donate to the cause or share information contact Jacquelyn Briscoe at 706-817-8512 or gbw@beasbabies.org

Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home Inc. is a 501c3 organization that exists to honor and share the legacy of Beatrice Borders and restore the Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home as a museum and educational center. For more information, visit www.beasbabies.org or email gbw@beasbabies.org.

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