Juneteenth is the celebration commemorating when the ending of slavery in the United States was known to people of African descent in the west. It first began as a celebration on the island of Galveston, TX. Since that time, it has become a national African American celebration of freedom.
This FREE Family Day at the Telfair Museum will be an opportunity to participate in hands-on activities including making haint blue pain and basket making. The presentations and current exhibition will allow the audience to learn more about Savannah’s history in slavery and freedom. The exhibit “Slavery and Freedom in Savannah” is being presented in conjunction with the newly published book of the same title. The exhibition’s images, documentary accounts and objects from Telfair Museum’s and other collections provide a deeper understanding of our collective American past.
Viewed with a wider lens, pieces such as the neoclassical tea service owned by Frances Lewis Bolton Richardson are not simply prized possessions of a wealthy, white slaveholder, but also are objects held and polished under the watchful eye of a skillful, enslaved laborer. A silver tankard on display given to an enslaved overseer, Maurice, at Hampton Plantation on nearby St. Simon’s Island tells another story. Enslaver Pierce Butler gave Maurice the tankard in recognition of Maurice’s bravery in saving the lives of more than one hundred enslaved people during a hurricane in 1804. Nearly fifty-five years later, Butler’s son sold 429 enslaved people, perhaps including some who survived that hurricane. The sale took place only two miles outside Savannah and was the largest slave auction recorded in American history and it is referred to in the Gullah/Geechee Nation as “The Weeping Time.”
The exhibition also presents objects that tell stories into the 20th century, highlighting Savannah-only histories and representing some contemporary interpretations of the African American experience in Savannah and America. The live programming by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) and Dr. Amir Jamal Toure will bring to life the experience of Gullah/Geechees that migrated from Carolina to Georgia and who were part of those that ended up in Texas and were there to hear the announcement of freedom. Cum yeddi wi storee of freedum!