New voice joins West Savannah shelter debate

A contingent of clergy, community leaders and elected officials opposed to the proposed...
A contingent of clergy, community leaders and elected officials opposed to the proposed Salvation Army shelter in west Savannah say they’re commissioning their own survey of The Weeping Time site.(WTOC)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 7:34 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Those against a proposal to build a homeless shelter in West Savannah near the site of the historic Weeping Time slave auction have raised money and brought a new name on-board to help them with their efforts.

The Weeping Time Coalition says they’ve raised thousands of dollars and paid Dr. Anne Bailey to join their coalition.

Dr. Bailey is a history professor and the author of a book on the Weeping Time.

“We are so glad and thankful that we were able to secure Dr. Anne Bailey,” Solomon Temple Pastor Larry Gordon said.

The Weeping Time Coalition met again Thursday in West Savannah after a presentation by Dr. Bailey Wednesday night. In it, Bailey made clear that, based on her historical studies on the Weeping Time, she believes the land in-question is sacred.

“The tears of the enslaved in the Weeping Time slave auction are all over West Savannah,” Dr. Bailey said.

Dr. Bailey presented seven recommendations for the city.

They include:

  • A moratorium on development
  • Adding the weeping time to the national register of historic places
  • Converting all West Savannah into a Cultural Heritage Corridor.

Dr. Bailey says she hopes the city will hear her recommendations.

“I don’t have a dog in this fight as the expression goes. I’m trying to come in as much as possible as a neutral party, hopefully lending to some type of conflict resolution in this situation,” Dr. Bailey said.

Last month, the city announced it had begun a phase-1 archeological study to determine whether the site at 2305 Augusta Avenue was the site of the Weeping Time. Current city records say it happened just south of there.

The city’s study is meant to see if those records are accurate. After hearing about the city’s plan for the study, the coalition against the shelter proposal said it would do its own survey.

Pastor Gordon says they’re hoping to raise as much as $100,000 to fight against the proposed homeless shelter.

According to a GoFundMe, the group has raised thousands of dollars; including a $5,000 donation from the group “Black Voters Matter.”

Pastor Gordon did not give us any specifics on how much has been raised so far and where they plan to spend it.

A reminder. the city does not own this property. It is owned by the Savannah Housing Authority.

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