AFRICAN AMERICAN LIFE AND CULTURE IN THE GEORGIA LOWCOUNTRY:
18TH TO THE 20TH CENTURY
On February 28-29, 2008, Savannah will host a symposium of special
significance, "The Atlantic World and African American Life and
Culture in the Georgia Lowcountry, 18th to the 20th Century."
Sponsoring the event are Savannah State University, Armstrong
Atlantic State University, Georgia Southern University, Georgia
Historical Society and the Ossabaw Island Foundation. Partners
include the King Tisdale Cottage Foundation and the Coastal Heritage
When speaking of the African American experience in the lowcountry,
most writers begin with a passing nod to the stretch of coast from
Georgetown, South Carolina to Cumberland Island, Georgia and then
focus their attention on South Carolina. The Georgia coast has been
relatively neglected. And yet the experience of African Americans in
the lowcountry, both urban and rural, was an important one, not only
for the ways it replicated the traditions, culture and patterns of
its neighbor but possessed its own unique identity. This symposium,
featuring ten of the leading voices in the field, will provide a
much-needed forum for new directions and new scholarship on African-
American life in the Georgia lowcountry and its place in the larger
Themes include the place of Georgia in the Black Atlantic, enslaved
Georgia women during the Revolutionary era, African American
religious survivals on the coast, the Muslim presence in the Georgia
Lowcountry, human relations and family life as reflected in the
archaeology of coastal plantations, Reconstruction on Ossabaw
Island, community building in post-Civil War Savannah, and the
sustainability of Gullah-Geechee culture in today's world.
The event will take place at the DeSoto Hilton Hotel. There is no
charge other than a $3.00 processing fee. It is open to the public.
At the reception Wednesday evening, Cornelia Bailey of Hog Hammock
will give words of welcome, and the McIntosh County Shouters will
perform. Ten speakers will address the audience over the following
two days. On Thursday night, there is a Low Country Boil at the
Owens Thomas House. For further information, go to
> or call 912-
* The African American experience on the Georgia coast shaped
in fundamental ways the experience of all African Americans in this
* That experience set a standard for this region in terms of
cultural survival, acculturation and resistance.
* The story of the Georgia Lowcountry places the story of
African Americans in the context of the Atlantic world, the world of
west Africa, the Caribbean and Europe.
* That story offers a means of gauging whether and to what
extent traditional African American communities can survive in the
* Ultimately, slavery, reconstruction and the Gullah/Geechee
heritage is not a black story or a Georgia story or even a Southern
story. It is an American story, and understanding it in all its
regional varieties remains crucial to any understanding we hope to
gain about race relations in this country and what it means to be an
Emory Campbell, Penn Center, St. Helena Island Erskine Clarke,
Columbia Theological Seminary David Brion Davis, Yale University
Allison Dorsey, Swathmore College Michael Gomez, New York University
Jacqueline Jones, Brandeis University Phillip Morgan, Johns Hopkins
University Tim Powell, University of Pennsylvania *Theresa
Singleton, Syracuse University* Betty Wood, Cambridge University
A Sense of Self and Place: Unmasking the Mystiques of My Gullah
'They Shun the Scrutiny of White Men': Reports on Religion from the
Georgia Lowcountry and West Africa, 1834-1850.
David Brion Davis:
The Fate of New England Abolitionism in the Georgia Lowcountry
'The great cry of our people is land:' Black Settlement and
Community on Ossabaw Island.
Africans, Culture and Islam in the Lowcountry
Savannah's Confederate Project: Forging an Alliance between Elites
and the White Laboring Classes in the Civil War Era.
The Lowcountry and the Early Modern Atlantic World
Words of 'Supreme Magic Power': Stories of Flying Africans from
Slavery time to Our Time.
Archaeology of the Gullah-Geechee on the Georgia Coast*
Lowcountry Women of Color during the Era of the American Revolution,