History of Susie King Taylor as Savannah square gets renamed

Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
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LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A historic moment during Savannah City Council’s Thursday meeting.

Leaders voted to rename the square formerly known as Calhoun Square to Taylor Square in honor of Susie King Taylor.

To understand the significance of renaming the square, you need to take a trip to Liberty County where the journey begins for Taylor.

Hermina Glass-Hill is the founder of the Susie King Taylor Institute and Ecology Center in Hinesville. She has been studying and sharing the life of Taylor for nearly 15 years.

“The significance of this marker today is that it represents centuries of overcoming the kind of racial discrimination that has been embedded in our history,” Glass-Hill said.

Taylor was born in 1848. After being born enslaved, she would go on to be an educator, a nurse, and support Union troops during the Civil War.

“During her involvement during the Civil War, she gets to see the world. She goes to Beaufort, South Carolina. She is in St. Simons. She is in Florida after the war, she is experiencing the Emancipation Proclamation. She returns to Savannah to open two schools,” Glass-Hill said.

Those would not be the only schools impacted by Taylor. In 2017, a charter school in Savannah opened named after Taylor.

“Susie King Taylor was a wonderful nurse and teacher,” one student said.

“That’s amazing, you see all these other squares named after other people,” another said when asked what it means to have a square named after Taylor.

“She was the first African American teacher to open a school in the Savannah area. We are steps from where she learned herself,” Dr. Medina said.

“I think it is amazing how she finally gets good recognition, so now other people will prosper to be just like her,” a student said.

Glass-Hill said she plans to continue expanding the institute in Hinesville so Susie King Taylor’s story lives on.