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Owens: ‘Lift Every Voice’ brings free museum admission, history for all

Tomorrow, you have an amazing opportunity in this city for free education, and it’s one you don’t want to miss.

The Beach Institute has gathered eight Savannah cultural organizations and sites to honor our African-American history in Savannah in an event called “Lift Every Voice: Savannah’s African-American Historic Sites Free Day.”

It’s all part of the celebration of the recent opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

So, Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., you get free admission to the participating sites below.

In a time in our country when hate and violence prevail in the news, this is your opportunity to learn more about the history that we cannot forget.

At the Beach Institute, they will present the exhibit Law &Music. You’ll get to hear the music that Civil Rights leader and local historian W. W. Law listened to when he was working on the Civil Rights movement.

I’m grateful for his legacy in our city. Law was Savannah Chapter president of the NAACP from 1950 to 1976, the height of Civil Rights. He worked through nonviolent means to open the city for African-Americans.

His efforts continued in working to preserve African-American history and historic buildings. There are so many ways that we remember his legacy here in Savannah: the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, King-Tisdell Cottage Museum, the Beach Institute of African American Culture, as well as the W.W. Law Regional Center with a library, swimming pool, and day care center.

His work is prolific in our city. He’s part of the stories you’ll see at the “Lift Every Voice: Savannah’s African-American Historic Sites Free Day” tomorrow.

The city of Savannah archivists will also share artifacts and records from the City’s Municipal Archives that document Savannah’s African-American history.

Another participating museum, the Owens-Thomas House, which has recently been awarded a grant from the National Endowment of Humanities, will share how they preserve and tell the stories of enslaved men, women, and children who lived and worked there.

You’ll find the free programs that focus on African-American history connections and will include a variety of activities for guests of all ages. Here are the addresses:

Beach Institute in partnership with City of Savannah, Research Library &Municipal Archives, 502 E. Harris St.

Davenport House Museum, 324 E. State St.

Georgia Historical Society, 501 Whitaker St.

Georgia State Railroad Museum, 655 Louisville Road

Ossabaw Island Foundation. Contact for ferry details.

Pin Point Heritage Museum, 9924 Pin Point Ave.

Telfair Museums’ Owens-Thomas House, 124 Abercorn St.

It is all free but there’s no way you can see all the sites in a four-hour period. So, please make plans to visit again, learn our history, so that we can all remember and learn from whence we came.

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Michael Owens is president/CEO of the Tourism Leadership Council, the largest non-profit trade organization that supports and represents the tourism community. Contact Owens at michael@tourismleadershipcouncil.com or by calling (912) 232-1223.

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