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New Exhibit Focuses on Workforce at Historic Jekyll Island Club

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:56 AM EST
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JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - A new exhibit tells the stories of the African Americans who worked at Jekyll Island’s famous Jekyll Island Club. “In the Service of Others” is on display at the Mosaic Museum in honor of Black History Month.

It explores the lives of the employees who helped build and maintain the resort as well as worked for the wealthy families who vacationed there.

You’ll also learn how these employees desegregated Jekyll Island in the 1960s. The exhibit is a compilation of photos, archives and oral history from club employees and their relatives. It centers largely around a man named Charlie, who played a role in several key moments in the island’s history.

”He was the foundational block of what turned into just a massive massive web of families and friends and relations that were the African American community here at Jekyll. And Charlie personally goes back, he was one of the individuals that was there before the club existed. He actually rowed some of those investors out in a rowboat to look at it before the club was there, and he would serve and work on the island his entire life until the club closed at the outbreak of World War II,” Director of Historical Resources Michael Scott said. “We feel whole about what we can say about his life, about his work out here in a way that you don’t always get when you’re doing historic research and you’re trying to tell stories of people whose records were not always necessarily kept.”

Scott hopes this exhibit inspires visitors to think about the stories worth telling and saving in their own lives.

”There’s something I would hope we could provoke people into doing which is maybe exploring their own family. Exploring their own story and thinking ‘Well, man, we have these stories because people were talking about it, and this is a cool old photo. My grandmother has a cool photo with a bunch of old people in it, but they were young then. Maybe I should ask her who were these people in the photo,’” Scott said. “People could be doing the work of the historian, of collecting their own family histories.”

“In the Service of Others” will be on display through the end of the month at the Mosaic Museum on Jekyll Island. It’s open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets cost $9 for adults and $7 for children.

In addition to the exhibit, the Jekyll Island Authority is offering an accompanying tour. That’s available every Saturday and Sunday this month from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $12 for kids.

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