Buried History: Savannah’s African American Legacy

 
 

Buried History: Savannah’s African American Legacy, held a launching party on October 10 on their new touring web app. This is a free digital app that shares stories about black Savannahians and how they have contributed to Savannah’s history, economy and culture. Director and founder of the web app and the Savannah Archaeological Alliance, Laura Seifart, created it to allow tourist and locals to explore African American history in Savannah that is sometimes overlooked and not talked about.

The web app is accessible via web browser offered in two versions, a walking version and a driving version. The walking version is for those who are wanting to tour within downtown Savannah. The driving tour takes you a little outside of downtown. The map consists of 16 different sites someone can visit, 17 if they are driving. Each site is numbered in chronological order based on when they were built and gives a brief description about the history behind the site. Seifart encourages people to do it in order for a better understanding of why and when that site was built. However, people are free to chose whichever route they want to take.

When taking the tour, rather it be on your phone, lap top, tablet or desktop, your GPS must be enabled. Without it, the web app will not be able to locate where you are and guide you to the next stop. What’s nice about the app is that it automatically gives you the option to turn it on, saving you from having to go to your settings and manually do it; which may be challenging for some. The map also provides written directions just in case the GPS has a hard time keeping up with your exact location due to lack of service or other technical difficulties.

Seifert talked about how some of the sites history can be seen and viewed in two different aspects. Seifert said, “We are looking at history that is not explored as much, and that consist of good and then those with difficult topics. We tend to not talk about these things because we may find it sad or depressing. But then you have stories that are really positive and something great came out of it.”

Some of the historical sites that are being offered is the Mother of Matilda Beasley, First Bryan Baptist Church (aka Third African Baptist Church, Haitian Monument in Franklin Square and many more. After a brief description about the site, it offers other outside sources to learn more about it and its contributors. Although the app is focused on the actual sites, it also focuses on the influences wellknown African American’s had such as Rosa Parks and the Street car protests or Virginia Jackson Kiah building the Kiah House & Museum. The web app offers before and after pictures of these historic sites to show a visual comparison of then and now.

To access both the driving and walking tour, visit bit.ly/BHSAAL. For more information about the web app or Savannah’s Archeological Alliance, visit savarchaeoalliance.org.

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