On March 4, 2011 in Savannah’s own Madison Square, located at the intersection of Bull Street and Harris Street, The Georgia Historical Society unveiled a new marker commemorating the famous meeting between 20 African American ministers from Savannah and General William T. Sherman. The subject of this meeting: the famous “40 Acres and a Mule” that were promised to the former slaves as a way for them to gain an economic footing after centuries of forced slave labor without pay.
This marker is part of an effort to highlight the vital role that African Americans fulfilled throughout the Civil War—contributions that have largely remained invisible and ignored. There are approximately 1,000 markers throughout the South that are Civil War related with only a few addressing the millions of African Americans that also took part in the re-shaping of the “southern way of life” and the destiny of a free America.
The Inscription on the marker reads: “History Of Emancipation: Special Field Orders No. 15” “On January 12, 1865, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and General Wm. T. Sherman met here at the home of Charles Green with 20 leaders from Savannah’s African-American churches, including Garrison Frazier, Ulysses L. Houston, and William Campbell. The meeting resulted in Sherman’s issue of Special Field Orders No. 15, which encouraged the enlistment of freedmen and also reserved coastal land from Charleston south to Florida’s St. Johns River for settlement by freed families in 40-acre tracts. The Freedmen’s Bureau Act of March 1865 formalized government aid to freed slaves but made no provision for land. After President Lincoln’s death, President Andrew Johnson revoked Special Field Orders No. 15, hampering efforts by African Americans to gain economic independence after Emancipation.”
To help with the unveiling of this historic marker were Mayor Pro Tem Edna Jackson; President of the Georgia Historical Society Dr. W. Todd Groce; Ms. Hermina Glass-Avery, Kennesaw State University; Singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” Mr. Roger Moss, Artistic Director, Savannah Children’s Choir; and the keynote address was delivered by Dr. Charlie Crawford.
Article submitted by Servant Emannu’el Branch– the Black History Bible Prophecy Minister and Curator at Yahshua University.com.
He can be reached at (912) 376-7017 and www. yahshuauniversity. com and by email: speakup@yahshuauniversity. com.