Formal education of blacks started with the Freedmen's Bureau in Liberty County. The Homestead School was continued with the aid of the American Missionary Association (AMA) and support of Reconstruction legislator William A. Golding. The AMA started with one acre of land and 77 students in 1870. In 1874, the Reverend Floyd Snelson succeeded Golding at the school. The AMA and Snelson built a new school and named it Dorchester Academy in honor of its Puritan lineage. In 1890, Dorchester Academy started a boarding school. By 1917, the school had eight frame buildings on 105 acres, 300 students, and become a fully accredited high school.
The academic program ceased in 1940, with the construction of a consolidated public school for black youth at Riceboro. All academic equipment plus $8,000 were transferred toward that consolidation. Since, the facilities have served the community under the title Dorchester Cooperative Center, Inc. AMA continues financial support.