Finding Aid was made possible through the generous support of SCAD Alumni Atelier ambassadorship artists residency program.

Finding Aid includes 10 original relief prints embedded with QR scan codes and a take away booklet designed to link users to an an online curated website with digitized archival materials from the W.W Law Collection, The Georgia Historical Society, Savannah State Asa H. Gordon Special Collections Library, and private collections in Savannah , GA.

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg.1

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg.1

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg. 2

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg. 2

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg.3

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg.3

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg. 4

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg. 4

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg. 5

Dr. Lillie M. Jackson pg. 5

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My Kiah Story

"My Kiah Story is my interpretation of the memory of  Mrs. Virginia Jackson Kiah, daughter of Dr. Lillie M. Jackson. Longtime Cuyler Brownsville community members still express vivid memories of their childhood experiences visiting Mrs. Virginia Kiah’s home and viewing an elaborate mix of art, artifacts, musical instruments, and of course her talking bird. Many people still remember Mrs. Kiah and her home at 505 W 36th Street as it once stood, open to everyone regardless of their ethnicity. The Virginia Kiah home, "A Museum for the Masses" as she named it offered neighborhood residents their first museum experience, one that they never forgot". 

Dr Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson and Family

Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson Museum

A "rich history": SCAD's Kiah Collection

Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit

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Strange Fruit

Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert  also known as the father of the Civil Rights Movement in Savannah Georgia served as President of the NAACP Savannah Branch for eight years beginning in 1942. Among the many causes that Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert advocated for, equal voting practices as can be seen here in an appeal letter to the Savannah African American community represents one of the issues that existed within the Savannah African American community. 

 

"At that time, statewide elections in Georgia were governed by a county unit system of votes, which greatly favored candidates whose support came from rural counties. Under this system counties cast two, four, or six votes, depending on their classification as a rural town, or urban area respectfully" 

 

"Eugene Talmadge (1884-19460)." New Georgia Encyclopedia, 08-25-2004. www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/government-politics/eugene-talmadge-1884-1946

During his tenure as President of the NAACP Savannah Branch, Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert also strongly advocated for the enactment of anti-lynching laws. According to W. Fitzhugh Brundge over three thousand African Americans died at the hand of lynch mobs in South to include a recorded 460 lynchings occurring in the State of Georgia. In protest of  lynchings Billie Holiday recorded Strange Fruit in 1939. Strange Fruit was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978. For additional information on lynchings in America see links below.

 

W. Fitzhugh Brundge, Lynching In the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1993)

 

Billie Holiday-Strange Fruit

LYNCHING IN AMERICA

 

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Francis

Francis

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My Color Is

"Chatham county residents signed Voter Oath Books to affirm that they were qualified to vote in that county meaning that they met the prerequisites. In our present-day these books serve as a wonderful source of information as signers were required to list his/her name, district and ward of residence, address, occupation, age and date of birth. During the time of their creation books were arranged chronologically then by race, district then alphabetically. 

Here we see an entry signed by Mrs. Eloria S. Gilbert wife of Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert dated August 14, 1921. My Color Is represents the waiting process that many African Americans endured during the course of the Civil Rights Movement as the struggle to obtain equal voting rights presented obstacles such as pole taxes, test and intimidation during the Jim Crow Era."

The Chatham County Board of Registrars Voter Oath Books are just one collection of materials located within the Chatham County, Georgia Records Collection. The collection also contains Record of wills, 1775-1852 microfilm; Inventories and Appraisements together with probate proceedings., 1793-1861; Index to Estates, 1733-1869; Miscellaneous Estate Records, 1783-1858; Superior Court records (microfilm only); Tax Digest, 1793-1900.

 

(See, Georgia Historical Society, Chatham County Georgia Records Collection- Finding Aid for full biographical description and access to collection materials)

Francis

“As an archivist one of the questions that I’m asked most often is “What is the most interesting item that you’ve come across in the archive?” To this I never have a concrete answer. In this situation to me interesting is defined as the most heightened reaction that I might have to a particular archival collection item. For me, nothing compares to handling manuscript materials relating to slavery in America. We learn, hear and read about the institution of slavery, but to physically hold what could be the only evidence of an individual's life is an unparalleled experience for me. So much so that I delved into my own family genealogy research at the University of Chapel Hill where I learned of the Hariston and Wilson Family Papers (1750-1957) which consist of  70000 items. As a result of  my own personal genealogy research experience I felt the need to develop a resource that would assist in directing others to the resources available to them when conducting genealogy research of family members of African American decent at the Georgia Historical Society Research Center and Archive in Savannah Georgia. All that we may ever know about Francis is that at the age of 14 she was an enslaved person sold for 3,000 dollars six months prior to the end of the Civil War in 1865. Francis is just one of the many enslaved persons who’s bill of sale serves as evidence of her life here in Savannah Georgia.

There were many traditions that enslaved Africans brought with them to the Americas. The bottle tree is believed to be among them. Sparkling colored bottles swaying and moaning in the wind also serve as proof of existence of the spirits that are believed to be trapped within with each whip of wind." 

Georgia Historical Society African American Genealogy Research Guide

Beach Institute Annual Report
Beach Institute Annual Report pg. 1
Beach Institute Annual Report pg. 2
Beach Institute Annual Report pg.4
Beach Institute Annual Report pg.5
Beach Institute Annual Report pg.6
Beach Institute Annual Report pg.7
Beach Institute Annual Report pg.8
Beach Institute Annual Report pg.9
Beach Institute Annual Report pg.10
Deed Book 4-C, page 186
Deed Book 4-C, page 187
Non palm sine labore

Non Palm Sire Labore

“The Annual Report of the Beach Institute (1905-1906) offers a glimpse  into the long history associated with the Beach Institute. From the catalog of students who walked the halls so many years ago, to their course of study. Today the King Tisdell Cottage Foundation is home to the Beach Institute. Founded by Savannah Civil Rights Leader, Wesley Wallace Law (1923-2002).

 

For more information about The Beach Institute's current programs please visit http://www.beachinstitute.org/

The educational movement which finally took the name "Beach Institute" began thus: Soon after the surrender of Savannah to General Sherman, educational work for colored people was begun under the direction of an "Educational Commission", organized by Rev. J. W. Alford and Rev. M. French. The first schools were opened by Rev. W. F. Richardson with the aid of colored teachers in the old slave mart and the Styles building in Yamacraw. Soon after Rev. S. W. Magill, a native of Georgia, and agent of the American Missionary Association in Connecticut, came from the north with a corps of competent teachers and opened a school in the Methodist Church on South Broad Street. At the close of the first week 300 children and 118 women were enrolled. The school soon outgrew its quarters and was removed to the Massie school on Gordon Street, which the building was assigned to this service by General Groover, commander of this district.

 

Previous to 1867 the colored Methodist Church; New Street: Lamar Hall, Liberty Street; the lecture room of First and Bryan Baptist Churches; Sturlevant Hall; and an old wooden structure on sight of present buildings at the corner of Price and Harris Streets, sheltered this A.M.A. work.

In 1867 commodious buildings were erected by the American Missionary Association, and dedicated as Beach Institute, in honor of Alfred E. Beach. Esq., editor of the Scientific American, who donated the funds to purchase the site. There were 600 scholars with ten teachers at this time. The teachers' home 512 Harris Street, East was first occupied on Thanksgiving Day, 1867

-The Beach Institute Annual Report (1905- 1906). page 15, History

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

Dr. E. J. Josey Correspondence to W.

"Dear W.W."

"Dear W.W."

"Dear W.W."

“One of the interesting materials that I came across while processing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP-Savannah Branch Records, that I enjoy reading are the correspondence materials of Dr. E.J. Josey and W.W. Law. There are so many reasons for me personally to appreciate the contributions that Dr. E.J. Josey lent to the field of library and information science. These are just a few examples of the evidence that exist as a testament of how Dr. E.J Josey and W.W. Law remained in touch through the years exchanging news, triumphs and frustrations of the times in which they lived through.

 

In this particular letter, Dr. E. J. Josey writes W.W. Law on the day of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday after his assignation. He reflects on a Sunday dinner 15 years ago when he and W.W. Law shared a meal with Dr. King at the home of Reverend Curtis Jackson following a Mass Meeting.”

 

Dear W.W.- BCALA Newsletter

 

 

 

  • Former Director of the Savannah State University ASA. H. Gordon Library and adviser to Savannah State University students participating in the Savannah Georgia downtown sit-ins. 

 

  • Challenged the American Library Association for allowing its officers to participate in state associations that denied membership to African Americans. The PittChronicle described his verbal petition as “Firing the shot heard round the library world” 

 

  • Formed the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, the first of the five to follow

 

  • Published several books to include The Black Librarian in America, What Black Librarians Are Saying, The Black Librarian in America Revisited and the first and second editions of the handbook of Black Librarianship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil Rights Scrapbook vol.1

Civil Rights Scrapbook vol.1

Civil Rights Scrapbook vol.1

Civil Rights Scrapbook vol.1

Civil Rights Scrapbook vol.1

Civil Rights Scrapbook vol.1

Civil Rights Scrapbook vol.1

Civil Rights Scrapbook vol.1

Wade in the Water

Wade in the Water

We Shall Not Be Moved

“When I first learned about the Civil Rights Scrapbooks located in the Special Collections Department of the Savannah State University Library, I knew that I wanted to research them one day. I was thrilled to learn from Mrs. Ogden who has served for many years assisting students and faculty in the Special Collections that the scrapbooks were compiled around the time that the articles were clipped in 1960 by students and staff.” For researchers seeking additional archival collection material pertaining to student activism during the Civil Rights Movement the Asa H. Gordon Library Special Collections offers an in-process list of resources to consult."

 

 

 

Asa H, Gordon Library Special Collections Student Activism at Savannah State College(University)Topic Research Guide

Temporal Coverage: 1963-2016

Spatial Coverage: Savannah (Ga.)

 

 

Keywords:

Savannah State University (Ga.), History, African Americans, Civil Rights, Georgia, Savannah, History, 20th century. Civil Rights Movement, Georgia, Student Movements, College Students, Political Activity, History 

 

Material:

Hall, C.W. (1991). One Hundred years of educating at Savannah State College, 1890-1990. East Peoria, III.: Versa Press

 

Brooks, F.E. (2014). Tigers in the tempest: Savannah State University and the struggle for Civil Rights. Macon, Ga.: Mercer Press.

 

Johnson, O.S. (2016). From “N word” to Mr. Mayor: Experiencing the American dream. Brookfield, Mo.: Donning Company Publishers. 

 

Youtube AV Collection

Johnson, O.S. (2014): The Savannah State Student Uprising of 1963” DVD 595

 

1961-1964 News Articles Collection (Uprising)

 

Bobby Hill Collection (Newspapers)

 

Dr. John T Wolfe (1993-1997) Tenth President of SSU

 

Dr. Clyde W. Hall (1978- 1980) Acting President of SSU

 

University Yearbooks Collection

 

University Newspapers Collection

 

Tiger’s Roar Newspaper

Introduction
Introduction Continued
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Wade in the Water

"As a child I remember my mother sitting myself and  my siblings down to watch Eyes On The Prize in our living room. Eyes on the Prize first premiered in 1987, and chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement in the form of a 14 part documentary series. I never forgot the passion of the participants as they sang in protest around the country. Grand Songs of the Savannah NAACP "Freedom Now Movement" documents those songs which were apart of the local Savannah Civil Rights Movement. These songs offer yet another layer of information that teaches future generations of the musical contributions which united those who participated in the struggle for equal rights not only in Savannah Georgia but also across America.

I was granted permission to feature this piece of archival material by the late Mr. Remer Pendergraph, organizer and founder of the W.W. Law Foundation and President of the Savannah Yamacraw Branch A.S.A.L.H. I am very pleased to have known Mr. Pendergraph has he was an invaluable resource for me during the course of this project's completion".  Grand Songs of the Savannah Civil Rights Movement was digitized from his private home collection".

 

"I would not have missed those Mass Meetings of the Savannah, Georgia Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, held over the past two years, for the life of me. Nor would I have missed the sit-ins, the wade-ins, the kneel-ins, the picket-line, the boycotts, the vote campaigns, the bus ride-ins, and any of the other wonderful experiences gained while fighting for freedom in Chatham County. The memory of those inspiring experiences will stay with me for the rest of my life".

-W.W. Law, Introduction

Grand Songs of the Savannah NAACP "Freedom Now Movement"

Sunday, March 20, 1962

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Anything Worth Having Takes Work

Mrs.-Cora

Mrs.-Cora

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Mrs. Cora

"When Mrs. Cora Williams sat down to type this letter to Mr. Henry Goldberg , Manager of Levy's Department Store in 1960 she had no way of knowing that a copy of her letter would one day serve as eventual archival material. This letter is currently apart of the NAACP- Savannah Branch Records, housed at the City of Savannah Research Library & Municipal Archive. Today the building that Mrs. Cora politely refused to patronize in 1960 is now home to the Savannah College of Art and Design Jen Library. Mrs. Cora stood in solidarity along with the students from Savannah State College now Savannah State University. This print represents the connectivity that exist between current building structures and archival materials located in Savannah, GA". 

Visionary Voices Tribute