Telfair Museums announced the Legacy of Slavery in Savannah Initiative, working with the community to consider how the legacies of slavery still manifest in our city and what we can do to work toward justice. This effort is multifaceted and seeks to engage local Savannahians, artists, scholars, and activists.
This interdisciplinary effort examines the historical roots of present-day conditions of racial inequality and uncovers dimensions of the black freedom struggle that remain underexplored: how the region’s black residents’ political, economic, social, cultural, and educational pursuits have been shaped by persistent racial discrimination whose roots stretch back to chattel slavery. This initiative will offer audiences and readers a unique and timely account of the connection between a troubled past and the present on Georgia’s coast.
Melissa Cooper and Talitha LeFlouria are working with Savannah residents to collect oral histories focused on the African American experience.
As a component of this project, Drs. Melissa Cooper and Talitha LeFlouria would like to interview Savannah residents to learn about the Black experience in Savannah and about how African-Americans in Savannah understand the legacies of slavery in the city and region.
Know someone who should be interviewed? Reach out to Ahmauri Williams-Alford at email@example.com.
Related Art Exhibitions
10/01/21 – 1/17/2022
Curated by Erin Dunn
Sonya Clark: Finding Freedom will feature a large-scale canopy quilted together from cyanotype reactive fabric squares and seeds that were made with the help of workshop participants during the artist Sonya Clark’s various residencies. Draped as if a night sky overhead, visitors will experience a celestial viewpoint that encourages them to consider those who sought freedom along the Underground Railroad.
10/01/21 – 1/17/2022
Curated by Erin Dunn
Noel W Anderson: Heavy is the Crown considers the Black experience and its legacies through printed works, tapestries, and works on paper. The works utilize found imagery from various media and archives that are reprocessed by the artist Noel W Anderson through assorted means of distortion and manipulation to collectively expose the relationship of black masculine (mis)representation to structures of power.
4/1/2022 – 8/28/2022
Curated by Harry DeLorme
Hard Knocks, Hardships and Lots of Experience: The Art of William O. Golding is the largest museum survey to date of the work of William O. Golding (1874-1943), an African American seaman and artist whose work condensed a half-century of maritime experience into a series of more than 100 vibrant drawings. Golding’s work, which is rendered in an unforgettable visual style of his own invention, tells a story of maritime history as seen by a black seaman who left Georgia not long after Reconstruction, spent decades laboring at sea, and returned to the Jim Crow South.
September 16, 2022 ―February 19, 2023
Organized by Monique Long, Independent Curator, with Elena Gross, Director of Exhibitions & Curatorial Affairs, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco.
Elegies: Still Lifes in Contemporary Art will bring together an international group of artists who have disrupted or extended the traditional presentation of still lifes. The works are expressed through various mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, performance, and installation. The artists have appropriated the genre in order to create works within a framework of Black diasporic identities, histories, and experiences. The central discourse in this exhibition considers Blackness in relation to the existential question, “How does an artist create work about the body without the body being present?” resulting in political, historical, and art historical interventions.
Scholars and Topics
Melissa Cooper & Talitha LeFlouria – Oral history and the legacy of slavery in Savannah
Andrew Kahrl – coastal capitalism, black land loss, and gentrification
Jamil Drake – Portrayals of Religion in the Federal Writers’ Project
Fath Davis Ruffins – Interpreting Slavery at historic sites in the South
Jelani Favors – Black student activism
Maurice Hobson – Geopolitical history of Savannah’s development since 1965
Felicia Jamison – Land displacement during WWII
Julie Buckner Armstrong – Race, gender, and lynching in Savannah
Ann Bailey – Memory of slavery in coastal Georgia
Douglas Blackmon – Incarceration and the legacy of slavery
Mia Bay – Segregated Transportation
Tina McElroy Ansa – Georgia’s black freedom struggle in fiction & more
Legacy of Slavery in Savannah Initiative Book Club Series
December 10, 2020 – Hilary Green – Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890, Fordham University Press, April 2016.
March 11, 2021 – Douglas Blackmon – Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. New York: Anchor Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 2009. ©2008.