Exhibit - Enslavement to Emancipation

Published on: 10/5/2020


The exhibition Enslavement to Emancipation: the Struggle for Education was inaugurated on the 23rd of February, 2017 and is located in the Massie's Heritage Classroom. It addresses Savannah's difficult history of education, as experienced by the Black community, who had to fight hard for their right to an education. With a combination of primary sources and interpretative panels, the slow and excruciating struggle of American society to allow the integration of Black and White communities is brought to light, focusing on education.   


​​In 1833 Georgia State law made it ILLEGAL FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR to “read or write" because white slave owners considered educated Blacks to be threatening. Despite this harsh law and violent acts of suppression, clandestine schools sprung up, run by a few brave individuals who risked life and limb to educate the enslaved. The laws evolved after the Civil War (1861-1865) when FOUR MILLION PEOPLE were officially FREED from enslavement. However, existing societal norms did not make it easy for racial integration as deliberate public policies continued to subjugate Black people and promote white supremacy. Eventually, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The struggle had come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.



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