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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.

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Oral History

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 williamsalforda@telfair.org.

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

October 8, 2020 – Julie Armstrong – Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011.

LISTEN TO SESSION

November 12, 2020 – Mia Bay – To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.

Listen to Session

December 10, 2020 – Hilary Green – Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890, Fordham University Press, April 2016.

January 14, 2021 – Talitha LeFlouria – Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South. University of North Carolina Press, 2016.

Listen to Session

February 11, 2021 – Andrew Kahrl – The Land Was Ours: How Black Beaches Became White Wealth in the Coastal South, University of North Carolina Press, 2016.

Listen to Session

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.

Listen to Session

April 8, 2021 – Patricia Sullivan – Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement, The New Press, 2009.
Listen to Session

May 13, 2021 – Melissa Cooper – Making Gullah: A History of Sapelo Islanders, Race, and the American Imagination, University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

Listen to Session

June 10, 2021 – Jelani Favors – Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism, University of North Carolina Press, 2019.

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July 8, 2021 – Maurice Hobson – The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class in the Making of Modern Atlanta. University of North Carolina Press, 2019.

Listen to Session

August 12, 2021 – Tina McElroy Ansa – Baby of the Family. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.

Listen to Session

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Ahmauri Williams-Alford at williamsalforda@telfair.org.

Upcoming Events

COMING FULL CIRCLE: From Jim Crow to Journalism, a book lecture by Wanda Lloyd.

November 13 at 6pm Jepson Center
Join Telfair Museums and The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)- the Savannah Yamacraw Branch for COMING FULL CIRCLE: From Jim Crow to Journalism, a book lecture by Wanda Llyod.

From “N Word” to Mr. Mayor: Experiencing the American Dream, a book lecture by former Savannah mayor Otis Johnson

December 4 at 6pm Jepson Center
Join Telfair Museums and The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)- the Savannah Yamacraw Branch for From "N Word" to Mr. Mayor: Experiencing the American Dream, a book lecture by former Savannah mayor Otis Johnson.

Telfair Museums’ Legacy of Slavery in Savannah Initiative

October 7, 2022October 9, 2022
On September 12, 2019, 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.
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PO Box 10081
Savannah, GA 31412
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