Charles J. Elmore, a professor of humanities at Savannah State University and noted local historian, is a 1999 recipient of the Governor's Award in the Humanities. In Black America: Savannah he presents a fitting tribute to the city's African-American ancestry.
Savannah, Georgiaby Charles J. Elmore Ph.D.
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Pioneering African-American families, spanning generations from slavery to freedom, enrich Savannah's collective history. Men and women such as Andrew Bryan, founder of the nation's oldest continuous black Baptist church; the Rev. Ralph Mark Gilbert, who revitalized the NAACP in Savannah; and Rebecca Stiles Taylor, founder of the Federation of Colored Women Club, are among those lauded in this retrospective. Savannah's black residents have made immeasurable contributions to the city and are duly celebrated and remembered in this volume.
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This book opens the door to an unexplored and fascinating room in Savannah history, a room full of rich memories and engaging stories of how African Americans have shaped one of America¿s oldest cities. Author Charles Elmore has left no stone unturned as he rummaged through dusty scrapbooks and the minds of their owners to give voice to hundreds of Savannah¿s unsung black trailblazers. Well-written and profusely illustrated, this book fills a gaping hole in the city¿s history. The role that blacks have played in shaping that history isn¿t widely understood and appreciated by the general public. One of the main reasons for this lack of familiarity is the absence of engaging works like this one. Readers need not have any personal ties to Savannah to enjoy this work. These readers will hear in some of Savannah¿s local history echoes of complex national issues with which all Americans continue to grapple. The notion of giving blacks 40 acres and a mule as compensation for their enslavement, for example, had its roots in Savannah. Moreover, an incident that inspired one of John Greenleaf Whittier¿s poems grew out of the experience of a little black boy, Richard R. Wright, who had deep roots in Savannah. He would study at Atlanta University and Harvard and organize the college that would later become Savannah State University. Elmore¿s book includes a rare photograph of Wright, along with George Washington Carver, at one of the many farmers conferences that Wright coordinated at the beginning of the 20th century. Quiet as it¿s kept, farmers and other blacks in Georgia held property valued at $28 million during that period. One of the book¿s strengths lies in the way Elmore has assembled and arranged his material. Rather than giving us a hodgepodge of chronological information, he divided the material into categories. These range from black pioneers to civil rights leaders. Each category is covered in one of the book¿s eight chapters. Whether the chapter focuses on black Savannah¿s role in religion or business, music or medicine, the reader will be struck by the photographs. They reflect the quiet dignity of people whose spirit was never broken as they struggled as far back as the days of slavery to find their place in the American experience. Elmore¿s choice of subjects and the clear and concise manner in which he presents his information make this a very interesting and readable book. Every library should own a copy. So should anyone who enjoys books that appeal to emotions as well as the intellect.
Savannah,Georgia relates the experiences and legacy of African Americans in coastal Georgia. It stands as a paradox to the misconceptions generated in most history books. Blacks in Savannah have contributed to all walks of life from slavery to freedom and have achieved outstanding accomplishments in the arts, education and the professions. This book documents with factual knowledge the meetings between Savannah's African American leadership and General Sherman to establish the 'Forty acres and a mule legislation.' One of the oldest known African American Churches built in the United States of America is documented in this book. The book shows an important link to the educational pedagogy of blacks in coastal Georgia through Susie King Taylor a slave born in Liberty County, Georgia and educated in Savannah during slavery.
Savannah, Georgia completes the cycle of Savannah history with the African American influence on the city. This is a must read for those who want to gain an understanding of the impact African Americans made on the communities from slavery to freedom. It is a reflection of the lifestyle and education of blacks including their accomplishments. It shows how Savannah's blacks impacted the country as a whole. The book highlights important information on the first meeting with Savannah's African American leadership in the development of the 'forty acres and a mule' reparation legislation with General Sherman. I was enlightened by reading this book on Savannah, Georgia.