SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Starting next month, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from and talk to some of the nation’s top scholars in African-American studies. The Telfair Museums will host a series of virtual discussions with authors over Zoom.
It’s all part of “The Legacy of Slavery in Savannah Initiative.” That multi-year plan began after the Owens Thomas House & Slave Quarters was remodeled and reinterpreted a few years ago. The initiative includes studies by leading scholars, an oral history and contemporary artwork, which will all culminate in a symposium and research publication next year. Museum curators say this book discussion series was created in response to the pandemic.
“In the year leading up to that, we had always planned to have community engagement events and come together for conversations in different spaces around the city, and a wrench has been thrown in that by the fact that we can’t gather in groups,” Shannon Browning-Mullis, Curator for Telfair Museums said. “So instead, we’ve decided this series of book discussions, and we’re inviting the contributors that will eventually be in our symposium once a month to talk about, and talk with us, about a book that they have written in the past. And they’ll talk a little bit about the book, but the really important part is we want community members to have the opportunity to ask their questions of the author as well.”
Browning-Mullis hopes these discussions will help educate the community, but also spark change. She says this series is especially important in light of current events.
“One important part of working towards greater justice is understanding the issues and how they grew and evolved, and so we’re hoping that by bringing these scholars here we can contribute to that understanding. And so, you know, the timing is not planned, but is fortuitous. We’re hoping that they see that these are issues that we all have to tackle in our own way, whether our way is scholarship or art or policy or protest. And here’s a moment we can come together to do that.”
The series will begin Thursday, October 8 at 6:00 p.m. While participation is free, you are required to pre-register for each event by clicking here.
For this first event, Julie Armstrong will discuss her book “Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching.”
“I also think we underestimate the timeline for how long ago those things were happening. They weren’t that long ago. I mean there are people still alive who remember these events in some cases. And so I think it’s going to be an incredibly moving and sometimes difficult conversation, but one that needs to be had.”
The series will continue through September of next year. If you want to read the book ahead of time, Telfair has made some great local partnerships to make that easier for you. Both Live Oak Libraries and The Book Lady have promised to carry all of the books included in the series.