Young black boys who were orphaned in Savannah that had no place to go were sent to “Brown Farm”, a penal farm for convicts; the girls were sent to the Chatham County Protective home. The kids were not being punished, but it was the only safe place for them. Adaline Graham, a well-known Savannah woman, died and left property and funds to whomever might start a movement to establish an orphanage for Negro children.
In 1943, as a community service project, five young black women of the Gamma Sigma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha decided to utilize the funds and established a children center for black Children. In 1944, the group purchased a tract of land on W. 50th Street on which they could build the institution. On June 8, 1944, using an additional $4,500 donated by the Graham estate, Greenbriar Children’s Center was founded.
Greenbriar Children’s Center opened on July 15, 1949; with a cottage-style building that accommodated 20 children and a private apartment for a resident housemother.
In May of 1954, the 15-acre tract on which Greenbriar now stands at 3709 Hopkins St. was purchased for $17,000.
The center began accepting children of all races in 1964. Now, in 2020, we operate two affordable and accredited early learning centers for low income families, an emergency shelter for neglected or abused children,, Project Safe Place and a Family Preservation & counseling program, which provides free counseling to children and families who are most vulnerable.