The Historic Civic Center Building and Land . . .
a repository of history, culture, faith and remembrance
In 1945, African-American residents of Spring Lake and Manchester constructed the Civic Center building for use as a much-needed venue for African-American events, including a youth recreation center and a meeting place for social, community and family events.
During the Civil Rights Era, the Civic Center served as a hub for the African-American community to meet and work on voter registration drives, school desegregation efforts and other civil rights issues. The NAACP held meetings and the community hosted political candidates in the space.
In 2002, the Civic Center was closed due to changes in building codes. Also in 2002, the last surviving Trustee of the Spring Lake Civic Association gifted the 2,900 square foot building, and the 1.8 acres of land upon which it stands, to the Sandhills Family Heritage Association.
In 2007, the Mayor of Spring Lake signed a Proclamation designating the Spring Lake Civic Center a "Building of Historical Significance" for its importance to the African-American community and its relevance during the Civil Right Era.
In 2010, Cumberland County listed the building and land on its African-American Heritage Trail.
The 1.83 acres of land upon which the civic center building rests is, itself, a historic and cultural treasure.
The land, once part of a plantation where enslaved peoples labored, passed through several owners, including plantation owners Murchison and McDiarmid, until 1907 when it was purchased by James Hodges, Amur Williams and other Williams family members. In 1941, after division of the land purchased in 1907, James Hodges purchased Lots #6 and #10, 30 acres, which included the 1.87 acres sold for $10.00 in 1941 to the Spring Lake Civic Club.
In 2002, Ambrose Lucas, the last surviving Trustee of Spring Lake Civic Group, gifted the land and the building to Sandhills Family Heritage Association on behalf of the African-American community,
Sandhills Family Heritage Association (SFHA), as careful stewards of this important and beloved gift, continues to own the building outright, with no financial encumbrances.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, SFHA ensures that the building and land continue, in accordance with the wishes of the Spring Lake Civic Group, to benefit the African-American community and that the history of the property is preserved for future generations.
The African-American community in Spring Lake, Manchester and surrounding communities constructed the Spring Lake Civic Center, improved the land and cared for the property for several decades
The Spring Lake Civic Association maintained ownership of the property, on behalf of the community, and worked with community volunteers and organizations to care for the building and land.
Sandhills Family Heritage Association proudly shares the story of the forward-thinking men and women who saw a need and empowered the community to meet that need with their own resources and labor.
There are many stories to be told about this community and its resolve to create better lives for their families, especially their children, and to engage in the civic work that ensured a better future.
We honor the Builders by renovating and restoring this treasure to its community.
When you support the Historic Spring Lake Civic Center Renovation, you support those who imagined, realized and sustained this community resource.
Donate to Help SFHA
Renovate, Restore and Reopen
The Trustees of the Spring Lake Civic Association entrusted Sandhills Family Heritage Association and the community with the Historic Civic Center Building. With the help of our supporters, we will honor their legacy and Renovate, Restore and Reopen.
“The Spring Lake Civic Club served as the location for planning strategies to integrate the public schools of Cumberland County. The schools were integrated when several black students enrolled in previously all-white schools in 1963.”
NC Representative Marvin W. Lucas, District 42, Cumberland
"Ambrose Lucas, a founding member of the Spring Lake Civic Association and a family member, was instrumental in choosing SFHA to serve as stewards for this valued community asset. As the Civic Association members wished, he gifted the land and the building to Sandhills Family Heritage Association with full trust that they, and the community, would work to reopen the building and return it to community use."
N.C. Representative Marvin W. Lucas, District 42 - Cumberland
"... anything that concerned bringing the community together mostly was held at the church. This was very true in the Manchester community until the Civic Club was formed. The Civic Club was where people began having dances and community meetings. The reasons the dances were held at the center was to keep the children safe from the local juke joints in the community. The community and the church worked hand-in-hand."
Ammie Jenkins Oral History, 2010
Fayetteville State University
Instructor: Dr. Diane White-Oyler
Student: LeRon T. Montgomery