Lift Every Voice: Savannah’s African American Historic Sites Offer Free Days In August

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).

“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. An “Ask an Archivist” session will be held online one day in August, specifically geared to African-American genealogy and research. (online event only) 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. (Free Admission) 912-651- 6823 [date TBA]

Saturday, August 18:

Beach Institute 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) 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). 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. (Free admission.) Address: 9924 Pin Point Avenue. 912-355-0064

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 / 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. 
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 912-790-8800

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