For two weeks in June, Brenau Associate Professor of English Winter Elliott was among twenty-three college and university professors chosen to participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute hosted by the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) that explored two centuries of African-American life and culture in Savannah and Georgia’s coastal islands. Through scholarly lectures, site visits, community presentations and guided tours, the twenty-three participants examined the centrality of place in the African-American experience in Georgia’s Lowcountry and the larger Atlantic world.
“Given that many of my students are native Georgians, I found this opportunity to learn more about Georgia history, particularly African-American history in Georgia, invaluable,” said Elliott. “This summer institute gave me the chance to be a student again, open to new ideas and experiences. As with any good learning experience, I’m left with many questions, but these questions leave me with a sense of new avenues for intellectual exploration. I’m deeply grateful to have had this opportunity.”
Elliot, also Brenau honors program director, was chosen from more than one hundred applicants for the two-week institute, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and selected as an NEH Summer Institute for 2013 which addressed broad themes of race and slavery in American history by focusing on site-specific experiences of communities in and around Savannah from the late eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. In addition to lectures from leading academics, participants were taken to Ossabaw and Sapelo Islands, the coastal community of Pin Point, and spent an afternoon at the location of “The Weeping Time,” Savannah’s Ten Broeck Race Course, where one of the largest sales of enslaved persons in U.S. history took place in 1859.