New virtual way for people to learn about Black history on Tybee Island

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 10:41 AM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - This year will mark the second annual Lazaretto Day on Tybee Island. A commemoration of the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade that were quarantined on the island, before being brought to Savannah to be sold.

This year, there’ll be a deeper look at that history.

At the second annual Lazaretto Day Commemoration on Tybee Island this Saturday, project leaders are going to be unveiling a new way to learn about Black history on the island and it’s only a click away.

After years in the making, the virtual Black History Trail is online for people to see. The trail is a collaborative effort between Tybee MLK, the Tybee Historical Society, and Georgia Southern University.

“This is our statement to say that Tybee is open for everyone that wants to come out here and enjoy the island, and to learn more about it,” said Pat Leiby, the director of community engagement with Tybee MLK.

The virtual trail currently has historical information about 13 stops on the island. Though there’s no physical markers on the trail yet, project leaders tell me there will eventually be signs at each stop, as well as a brochure.

Folks are encouraged to go visit the 13 stops in person, while reading along the website.

“We go to the pier, to talk about the musicians that came to entertain during Jim Crow at the pier. We go to the back river to talk about the quarters of the maids on the back river. It’s just very informative, and I think that people will enjoy it. It’ll be a new way to see Tybee,” Tybee MLK co-founder, Julia Pearce said.

Leaders say one of the most important things about the project is accuracy.

Sarah Jones, the executive director of the Tybee Island Historical Society, said that compiling all the information was a bit of an undertaking, but those involved had direction from Amy Potter of Georgia Southern.

“She was really, really vital in helping us and getting us organized, actually. And showing us how to start the research and where to go do the research and how to do it the proper way. That was really important. She’s a little bit of an expert in oral histories, and so that was something that we all learned a lot about, because a lot of our information from this trail comes from oral histories,” Jones said.

Jones said that they’ll be working to add more stops to the Black History Trail as they continue to learn more about Black history on Tybee Island.

If you’d like to take a look at the Black History Trail, please click here.