Miss Bea needs your help

Published: Feb. 16, 2011 at 11:35 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 20, 2011 at 1:04 PM EST
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CAMILLA, GA (WALB) - From 1941 to 1970 one woman and her team of three were responsible for delivering over 6,000 babies. The house is at 176 Dyer street in Camilla, Georgia and has been nominated for the National Historic Register.

The site is already recognized as Historic in Georgia. But the house where so many lives were started is dying.

From cracks in the foundation, to paint peeling, without heavy repairs, everything this woman has accomplished might be lost.

It may look like a regular old house, but extraordinary things took place inside. "I was scared to have my first baby. Because it was my first and I was young," said Gracie Toombs.

"I was freaking out and it was my first child. And I didn't know what to expect," said Vivian Lumpkin.

Miss Bea (aka Beatrice Borders) delivered more than 6,000 African American babies from 1941 to 1970. "My son was born here. And now he's a big husky man because of what she did," said Lumpkin.

"She was just like my mother away from home," said Toombs.

Coming back visiting the home  was tough for the ladies. "It makes my stomach quiver; when I come in and look at what I've been through. It wasn't a bad thing it was just child birth," said Toombs.

"It's apart of me that was lost and it's all coming back again," said Lumpkin.

The Georgia B. Williams Nursing home was just like any other hospital. They had nurses and midwives who took care of the mothers after giving birth. "We would eat and sleep in here. She would bring you breakfast  and then we'd take medicine," said Toombs.

"This is history and it's part of us. There are hundreds of women who had babies here," said Lumpkin.

But all this rich history, might just fade away like the paint on the walls; if they don't raise money to restore it. "It's amazing that we're alive and we can come back and see what we went through," said Toombs.

"I think it's important that we keep this home to show our great grandchildren," said Lumpkin.

Miss Bea identified a problem and birthed a solution. The Georgia Bee William Restoration project is trying to bring the home back to life.

They're asking for donations to paint and fix the roof to turn it into a museum. With the right support they feel like Miss Bea's home, could stand as tall as the civil rights museum in Birmingham Alabama.

It's two ways to give. You can donate next Saturday at the fundraiser taking place at  Union Baptist Church at 5pm in Camilla.

Miss Bea died of natural causes in 1971 at the age of 78.

Call  Mayor Mary Jo Haywood at (229) 336-5728 for instructions on how to mail in donations.