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Education & Career Dev.

July 5 - Savannah’s African American historic sites offer free days in August

Category: Education, Colleges & Career

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

July 5, 2018 - Several Savannah-area cultural organizations and sites are collaborating to honor the community’s African American history, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Lift Every Voice: Savannah’s African American Historic Sites Free Days will take place during various dates in August, offering free admission and special programming relating to the contributions of Savannah’s African American people to the area’s history, from the colonial period through the 20th century.

The participating establishments are: Beach Institute, in partnership with City of Savannah Municipal Archives; Fort Pulaski National Monument; Georgia Historical Society; Georgia State Railroad Museum; Massie Heritage Center; Ossabaw Island Foundation; Pin Point Heritage Museum; and Telfair Museums’ Owens-Thomas House. Programs at each site will focus on African American history connections and will include a variety of activities for guests of all ages.
 
Residents and tourists will also have the opportunity to learn more about preservation, genealogical research, historic interpretation, and archiving.
 
Lift Every Voice, whose name comes from the historic song of the same name by James Weldon Johnson, began as a global initiative by the Smithsonian, encouraging partners, organizations, and individuals who study, love, or support African American history and culture to join NMAAHC in their inaugural year celebration (2016-2017). Savannah’s participation in August 2017 proved so popular that many of the cultural sites involved during its first year decided to host it again in 2018. Savannah is one of only a few communities who have continued the program after the first year.
 
“Our involvement in Lift Every Voice last year was an important addition to our programming,” said Elizabeth DuBose, Executive Director of the Ossabaw Island Foundation.  “Ossabaw Island’s African American history did not occur in isolation. It is linked to Pin Point community, to Savannah, and beyond. Lift Every Voice helps us emphasize those connections, and offers locals and visitors a late summer opportunity to get to know our community better.”
 
Schedule of activities
For times and other specifics, please contact historic sites directly.
 
August 2018:
 
Georgia Historical Society will highlight materials curated from collections relating to Savannah’s African-American history. Throughout the month of August, GHS will participate virtually by sharing photographs, rare pamphlets, genealogy research tips and more through social media.  An “Ask an Archivist” session will be held online one day in August, specifically geared to African-American genealogy and research. (online event only) Georgiahistory.com  912-651-2125 x 150  
 
Georgia State Railroad Museum will give tours exploring the unique African American contributions to the history of the Central of Georgia Railway and other railroads throughout America. Visitors will learn about their expanded historical interpretation to share more diverse stories at this museum. (Free Admission) Address: 655 Louisville Road.
 www.chsgeorgia.org  912-651-6823 [date TBA]
 
Saturday, August 18:
 
Beach Institute in partnership with City of Savannah Municipal Archives, will present the exhibit Capturing the Soul, where guests will discover portrait photography through the collection of Civil Rights leader and local historian W. W. Law. City of Savannah archivists will also share artifacts and records from the City’s Municipal Archives that document Savannah’s African American history. (Free admission) Address:  502 E. Harris Street.  www.beachinstitute.org  912-335-8868
 
Ossabaw Island visitors will enjoy a morning walking tour of North End plantation, including three restored tabby cabins built by enslaved Africans for their housing. Learn about Hercules & Betty in the 1770s, the Bond brothers in the 1850s and 1860s, and their descendants who founded Pin Point community in the 1880s. Departure address: Rodney Hall Boat Ramp, 25 Diamond Causeway. (Free admission. Boat transportation fee: $30. Advanced tickets required).  www.ossabawisland.net  912-233-5104.
 
Pin Point Heritage Museum will offer tours about Gullah/Geechee culture, given by the residents who grew up in the small, close-knit community. Guests can learn about the unique lifeways, from daily life to religion, language and food. The Pin Point community was founded in 1896 by freedmen after the Civil War. (Free admission.) Address: 9924 Pin Point Avenue. www.chsgeorgia.org912-355-0064 
 
Sunday, August 19:
 
Fort Pulaski National Monument will offer special programming highlighting the enslaved people’s courageous escapes to Union lines following the fort’s recapture in 1862.  Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about post-emancipation life on the Sea Islands and lift their own voices about what freedom and bravery mean to them. (Free admission.) Address: U.S. Highway 80 East   www.nps.gov/fopu   912-786-8182
 
Massie Heritage Center will feature several guest speakers discussing different aspects of Massie's and Savannah's African American history.  (Free admission.) Address: 207 E. Gordon St.  internet.savannah.chatham.k12.ga.us/schools/massie/    912-395-5070
 
Telfair Museums Owens-Thomas House tours will focus on the lives of Emma, Peter, and Diane, some of the enslaved people who lived on the site. (Free admission.) Address: 124 Abercorn St. www.telfair.org  912-790-8800
 
“Lift every voice and sing
Til earth and heaven Ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let Our Rejoicing Rise High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.”
– Excerpt from Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson (1900)

 

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