Community Stories: Tracing Jim Crow’s Impact in Savannah’s Park System
Savannah maintained separate and unequal public park systems for black and white people from the end of the Civil War until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Black Savannahians were barred by custom from entering the largest and finest parks due to Jim Crow segregation.
As a graduate student in public history at Georgia Southern University, I wanted to learn how the City of Savannah enforced park segregation through a combination of social customs and administrative actions.
I interned at the City of Savannah Municipal Archives and continued researching this topic alongside archives director Luciana M. Spracher.
This resulted in the curation and creation of a digital exhibit, “Jim Crow in Savannah’s Parks,” using official documents to detail how racism openly guided decisions by the City of Savannah’s Park and Tree Commission, and by the Mayor and City Council, who decided where and when to build and improve parks and recreation facilities.
The resources of the Digital Library of Georgia were critical to my research.
– Jeff Ofgang, graduate student in public history at Georgia Southern University
(This piece is taken from a longer blog post originally published on Digital Library of Georgia. Image from the City of Savannah Municipal Archives.)