In the late summer of 2010 I took a trip down south with my sister to spend a few days on Hilton Head, S.C. During a day trip, as recommended we drove about an hour even further south to beautiful Savannah, Georgia with its internationally known architecture and history and “reputation for Southern charm and hospitality” and drove straight in to downtown; into Savannah’s Historic District with its Spanish Moss covered, tree lined park squares where locals sat on shady benches spotted with sun, SCAD students hurried by with their art supplies tucked under their arms and tourists such as ourselves wondered if over there by that statue of that Oglethorpe guy-who is he anyway?- would be a good spot to take a picture. Savannah has a big tourist industry. There is every tour in the world available to you: art tours, architecture tours, culinary tours, cemetery tours-taken in modified hearses (shudder). True to our natures which thirst for all things black history we took an African American Heritage tour. Our tour guide’s name was Johnny and for a measley $20 Johnny and his shuttle took us to just about every black historically significant nook and cranny in the historic district from where MLK first gave his I have a dream speech before he gave it in Washington D.C (didn’t know that did you?) to the First African Baptist church where I ran my fingers over series of holes drilled into the old wooden floors that served as air holes for runaway slaves hiding beneath. This was Black Savannah. Halfway through the tour we stopped at a location which is what prompts me to write this and what prompts me to do what I will do in the next month and beyond. Our tour fee included entrance to The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum on MLK Jr. Blvd which is THE BEST civil rights/ African American history museum I have EVER been to. Ever. The information was brand new; startling even…I never learned this?! Do people know about this?! People should know about this…
Which got me to thinking….what about Hampton?
For the part it plays in the history of this Nation…shouldn’t I know more about black history and the history of the civil rights in my own backyard? I search for it in every city I visit, but I never think to look for it here. Here at the beginning of all things American – good and bad. Until now…
African AMERICAN History 2011| The 757 series.
Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.
Support local cultural venues such as Newsome House, and Hampton History Museum.