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African-American History and Culture in the Georgia Lowcountry: Savannah and the Coastal Islands, 1750-1950

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for Community College Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“African-American History and Culture in the Georgia Lowcountry, Savannah and the Coastal Islands” consists of two one-week NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops held during summer 2012 for fifty community college faculty members on African-American life and culture in Savannah and Georgia’s coastal islands. By focusing on African Americans in the Georgia lowcountry, this program challenges monolithic views of race and slavery in American history. In particular, the juxtaposition of urban and rural life illustrates a complex story of distinct and enduring African-American cultures. Visits to Sapelo and Ossabaw Islands  focus on the lives that developed in the rural communities. The workshop also contextualizes the African-American experience in the Atlantic world, the organic nature of African-American folkways, and the islands’ twenty-first century way of life. Savannah, by contrast, elucidates African-American life in an urban setting. Showing, for example, how blacks and whites mingled continuously, reveals how urban slavery was considerably more fluid than its rural counterpart. Participants prepare for the workshop by reading Ira Berlin’s Many Thousands Gone. Additional works authored by the visiting scholars include Alexander Byrd’s Captives and Voyagers; Cornelia Walker Bailey’s God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man: A Saltwater Geechee Talks About Life on Sapelo Island; and Jacqueline Jones’ Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War. Time is set aside for primary-source research aided by project directors and research staff, as well as for work on course material. 

Dates: Savannah, GA: June 10–16 or June 17–23
Grantee Institutions: Stan Deaton, Georgia Historical Society
Location: Ossabaw Island and Sapelo Island, and several sites in the Savannah Historic District, including the city's Historic Squares, the Beach Institute Neighborhood, the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Telfair Museum, and the Georgia Historical Society

About NEH Landmarks of American History: Workshops for Community College Faculty

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. As part of the NEH’s We the People program, we offer the following Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for Community College Faculty. NEH Landmarks Workshops provide the opportunity for community college educators to engage in intensive study and discussion of important topics in American history and culture. These one-week programs will give participants direct experiences in the interpretation of significant historical and cultural sites and the use of archival and other primary evidence. Landmarks Workshops present the best scholarship on a specific landmark or related cluster of landmarks, enabling participants to gain a sense of the importance of historical places, to make connections between what they learn in the Workshop and what they teach, to advance their own scholarship, and to develop enhanced teaching materials.

Amount of Award

Faculty selected to participate will receive a stipend of $1,200. Stipends help cover living expenses, books, and travel expenses to and from the Workshop location.


These projects are designed for faculty members at American community colleges. Adjunct and part-time lecturers as well as full-time faculty are eligible to apply. Other community college staff, including librarians and administrators, are eligible to compete, provided they can advance the teaching and/or research goals of the workshop. An applicant need not have an advanced degree in order to qualify. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested to be considered eligible.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to two NEH Summer Programs in any one year (Landmarks Workshops, Summer Seminars, or Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Landmarks Workshops and the Seminars and Institutes Programs.

How to Apply

Please e-mail, telephone or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded Workshop descriptions to the Landmarks directors listed here; in many cases, these materials will also be available on project websites. You may request information about as many Workshops as you like, and, as noted above, you may apply to up to two programs but participate in only one.