Davis tied with history of Climax

Published 8:17 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2015

With the month of February designated as national Black History month, we in Climax thought it was time to celebrate and recognize more of our Black History. Mrs. Essie Martin Crawford Davis is an outstanding lady on her own, but she is also a descendant of those who helped establish the history of the City of Climax.
In the year 1866 there is record of Mack and Bell Martin becoming charter members of the oldest black Church in the City of Climax, St. John A.M.E. Church on East Broad Street, which is still very active today. Mack and Bell had a son by the name of Sam and he married Mattie. Sam and Mattie had a son named Isaac and he married Bessie.
In 1922 Isaac and Bessie had a daughter they named Essie. Today “Mrs. Essie”, as she is fondly called is 93 years young. As a young child Essie had a desire to learn and help those around her. There was no school building when Mrs. Essie became school age, so she as did many of the African-American children in Climax did began school with classes being held in St. John A.M.E. Church where it still stands today. From research we found that the school for African-American children in the church, began around 1925. In the 1930’s construction began on a school building for the children in and around Climax.
According to information provided for the Climax School reunion in June 2009, in 1936, the school building, portions of which still stands on East Broad Street in Climax today, was still under construction. Some records show that the school was completed sometime from 1936 to 1938. It was officially named Climax Junior High School with grades one through nine but later changed to grades one through seven.
As a young lady on the 26 day of April 1938 Mrs. Essie Martin received a certificate of graduation from Climax School, Decatur County for competition of the seventh grade. Mrs. Essie proudly displays this certificate today. The certificate is signed by Emma Reynolds teacher, C.D. Jackson principal, Lillian E. Williams supervisor of Black Schools, and Andrew Avery County School Superintendent.
Mrs. Essie went on to Bainbridge to Union Normal School for high school and then on to Albany State College for her teaching degree. Upon receiving this degree she returned to Climax to fulfill her dream and love of teaching to the children of Climax. She began teaching the first and second grades at the Climax School. She continued teaching the children until the closing of the school in 1965. She retired after integration of the Schools with 37 years of service. She married Clifford Crawford from Climax and after his death she remarried Other Lee Davis of Bainbridge. They are both deceased.
Mrs. Essie has left her footprints and legacy in the history of Climax as did her descendants before her. She has educated many children and remembers how well-disciplined the children were during her teaching years. She remembers how parents and teachers were more united and respect was the rule. At age 93 today she said she believes discipline and respect begins at home and the parent is the child’s first teacher. She loves her home town of Climax, and said she is blessed to be near all of her close relative. She has one daughter Lillian Miller of Albany, one grandson and two great grandchildren.
Reporters note: I express appreciation and gratitude to Barbara Pugh for her assistance with this article. Barbara said, “Mrs. Essie has always been a great role model for her professional attire and inspiration. I remember when it snowed in Climax, I was in the second grade, my sister Sandra and I were trying to get to school and we kept sliding in the snow. We got to our teacher’s house Mrs. Essie. She opened the door and beckoned for us to come in. I live with that memory today, knowing that she is a caring person who always looks out for others. I thank her for the love and guidance of a real teacher, who still has class.”

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