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 Amanda America <I>Dickson</I> Toomer

Photo added by Monica Woodward

Amanda America Dickson Toomer

Heiress, Socialite. Born Amanda America on the Dickson Plantation, near Sparta, Georgia, Mrs. A. A. Dickson Toomer was, in her time, the wealthiest African-American woman in Georgia and possibly the United States. At the time of her birth, her mother was 12 year old Julia Frances Dickson, a house servant belonging to Elizabeth Dickson. Amanda's father was 40 year old David Dickson, son of Elizabeth and a wealthy white merchant, planter and slave owner. In her childhood, she was taken into the Dickson family and tutored by her paternal grandmother Elizabeth Sholars Dickson. Amanda married first to her father's nephew, Charles Eubanks, in 1866-67 and they lived on a plantation in Rome, Georgia. Eubanks was a Confederate Veteran. She bore two children from this marriage, Julian Henry and Charles Green. It was an unhappy marriage and Amanda left Charles in 1870, returning to the Dickson Plantation, where she was legally given the surname of Dickson for herself and her sons. She left home briefly, between the years 1876 and 1878, to attend the Normal School of Atlanta University. When her father died on February 18, 1885, Amanda became the center of a famous lawsuit. She was the main heir to the estate of over 15,000 acres valued at $309,543. The will was upheld in Probate Court. The white members of the Dickson family appealed to the Superior Court of Hancock County and to the Georgia Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled in 1887 that Amanda was legally entitled to the inheritance under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that property rights are equal for blacks and whites, including the offspring of black and white citizens. Her father had stipulated that Amanda, and her children after her death, were the beneficiaries, and no future husband or Dickson family member could "interfere". During the contest of the will, Amanda purchased a beautiful three-story brick house in the elite downtown neighborhood of Augusta, Georgia, which was at the time an integrated city. This house still stands on 452 Telfair Street. In 1892, she married Nathan Toomer of Perry, Georgia. He had been the slave of Richard Pilkinson of Chatham Co., North Carolina, the personal assistant and slave of John Toomer of Houston Co., Georgia, and finally the property of Col. Henry Toomer of Perry. Amanda remained married to Nathan Toomer until her death from Neurasthenia, or nervous exhaustion, considered to be caused by an unbearably hot train ride home from a month's stay in Baltimore for her health. She was buried in her wedding dress, in a metallic coffin, which was lined in rose colored plush fabric. The funeral was held at Trinity Colored Methodist Church. She died intestate, but the Dickson will stipulated that her sons receive the inheritance upon her death, which included $100,000 to each son and part of the remaining $247,000. Kent Anderson Leslie's 1995 biography Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege: Amanda America Dickson, 1849-1893, was written about her life, and from this book came the 2000 film, "A House Divided," starring Sam Waterston and Jennifer Beals as David and Amanda Dickson. For newspaper articles concerning the Dickson estate and will, and Amanda Dickson, refer to The Atlanta Constitution June 12, 1893; June 14, 1887; June 19, 1887; November 15, 1885; July 5, 1885.


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Inscription

Amanda Dickson Toomer Wife of Nathan Toomer
A True Christian. A Loving Wife. A Devoted Mother And Daughter. May her Soul Be At Rest.


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  • Created by: Monica Woodward
  • Added: 24 Feb 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 13428942
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Amanda America Dickson Toomer (20 Nov 1849–11 Jun 1893), Find A Grave Memorial no. 13428942, citing Cedar Grove Cemetery, Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Monica Woodward (contributor 36164438) .