29 Jan 2024
Each February is set aside as Black History Month to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans in the United States. From its founding, Savannah has benefitted from its rich cultural heritage.
The Savannah Black Heritage Festival celebrates that legacy from Feb. 1-29 with a full slate of events. Festival performances and activities are free and open to the public. A laying of memorial wreaths takes place at local monuments on Feb. 1. An art exhibit launches at the Savannah African Art Museum on Feb. 4. The fest features lectures, artist’s talks, jazz concerts and more, which take place at various venues, so check the website to learn more.
There are two historic black churches worth a look. Tour the historical First Bryan Baptist Church, 575 W. Bryan St., founded by five enslaved people in 1788, just after the Revolutionary War. The congregation completed the “new” building in 1850, with a style of architecture that is Corinthian and similar in design to Wesley Chapel in London, England, and the Trinity Methodist Church in Savannah.
The First African Baptist Church also dates to the days after the Revolutionary War, organized in 1773 a date that makes it clear the church is older than the United States (1776).
Take one of the Footprints of Savannah Walking Tours to learn about urban slavery, the Slave Trade and the Cotton Trade in Savannah. See the remnants of the 1860s slave trade and a building that once was a slave mart that became a Freedmen’s School. Call 912-695-3872 to book one of these 90-minute tours.
Learn about the region’s Gullah Geechee roots with a visit to the Pin Point Heritage Museum in the city’s Moon River District. Located in the former A.S. Varn & Son Oyster and Crab Factory, guests can discover the Gullah/Geechee culture and lifestyle, from daily life to religion, language and food directly from residents who grew up in the small, close-knit community. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday. Admission is $10 for adults, and $7 for children ages 4-12.
During your stay, support local black-owned businesses. Kim’s Cafe, 714 MLK J. Blvd., serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a warm, friendly atmosphere. Dottie’s Market is another culinary gem, located at 207 W. Broughton St. The Savannah Sauce Company produces gourmet marinade, barbecues and jams. And that’s just for starters.
Book your stay in the Historic District to be near all Savannah offers.