Historic marker unveiled at the Kiah House

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 4:10 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The historic marker, unveiled today, now stands tall as a symbol of preserving Kiah’s legacy.

This house was once home to Dr. Calvin and Virginia Kiah. In 1959, they opened it up to the public as the Kiah Museum for the Masses which was the first African American-founded museum in Savannah.

When Virginia Kiah, a portrait artist, died the house began falling apart and was at risk of being demolished. Founder of The African Diaspora Museology Institute says after years of fighting to save it and now having been successful … it’s amazing to see that black history and the Kiahs’ story will live on.

“She was really infectious in this neighborhood in terms of art and creation and I felt like their legacy should not go unnoticed . A historic marker was the most important thing we could do at the time because it just didn’t seem like there was a snowball’s chance in hell that we were going to save this house,” said Dr. Deborah Johnson-Simon.

Folks with the Friends of the Kiah Museum say this marker was made possible thanks to generous donations from the community who raised more than $5,000 to pay for it.

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