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Contact: Jason Kendall
Senior Writer and Public Relations Manager

12 Virtual Discussions Are Part of Museum’s Multiyear Legacy of Slavery in Savannah Initiative

SAVANNAH, GA (August 26, 2020) — Telfair Museums will present a new series of free virtual programs on African American history beginning in October 2020.

Once a month for one year, the museum will host a leading African American history scholar in a Zoom discussion and Q&A centered around a book that scholar has written. Topics will include stolen labor, lynching, life in the Jim Crow South, educational reconstruction, historical black colleges, the formation of the Civil Rights movement and the NAACP, and more.

“When we completed the reinterpretation of the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters in 2018, we knew the story didn’t end in 1840,” said Shannon Browning-Mullis, Telfair’s curator of history and decorative arts, who is leading the project. “Slavery and its lingering effects are still manifesting in our communities today. We’ve invited a nationally renowned group of historians to help us understand these legacies of oppression—it’s a small step in working toward justice.”

The 12 programs are free and open to the public. For participants who wish to read the related books ahead of time, Telfair is partnering with Live Oak Public Libraries, Beaufort County Library, and The Book Lady Bookstore, 6 E. Liberty St., which will have copies available for checkout and for purchase. Additional library partnerships will be announced.

The series is part of the museum’s multiyear Legacy of Slavery in Savannah initiative, which also will include a symposium in late 2021, exhibitions of contemporary works by black artists, community partnerships, and a related publication from the University of Georgia Press coedited by scholars Melissa Cooper and Talitha LeFlouria, who are both presenting as part of the virtual series. Already, Cooper and LeFlouria are working with Savannah residents to collect oral histories focused on the African American experience here.

The initiative will explore the history and aftermath of slavery in Savannah and its effects today across the region. A full schedule will be announced in spring 2021.

“I want to thank this fantastic group of scholars for juggling their busy schedules to be with us during this time of limited travel,” said Courtney McNeil, Telfair’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs. “Presenting these programs free and virtually removes so many barriers to access, and we’re excited to welcome people here in Savannah and all around the country to share in these important conversations.”

Preregistration is required for the virtual programs. To participate and learn more, visit

Free Virtual Program Schedule

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

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

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

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

6 p.m., 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

6 p.m., 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, 2009

6 p.m., April 8, 2021 – Patricia Sullivan, “Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement.” The New Press, 2009

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

6 p.m., 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

6 p.m., 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

6 p.m., August 12, 2021 – Tina McElroy Ansa, “Baby of the Family.” Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989

6 p.m., September 9, 2021 – Christina Sharpe, “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being.” Duke University Press, 2016

Books are available for checkout from Live Oak Public Libraries,, and Beaufort County Library,; and for purchase through The Book Lady Bookstore, 6 E. Liberty St. Free pickup or delivery is available from The Book Lady. Call 912-233-3628, email, or visit Additional partnerships with local and regional libraries will be announced via

About Telfair Museums:

Opened in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District. The museum encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Telfair Academy. For more information visit

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