African American Monument, Savannah

African American Monument, Savannah

The African-American Families Monument on River Street in Savannah serves as a tribute to the city's African-American heritage and highlights the often-overlooked history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

This monument, made of bronze and granite, portrays a family of four coming together in embrace following their emancipation. They face the Savannah River and the western coast of Africa, where the slaves' harrowing journey began. Inscribed with a poignant quote, this monument, albeit controversial, was crafted by Dorothy Radford Spradley, a professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design. It not only acknowledges the significant contributions made by African Americans but also symbolizes their fresh start in the Americas.

In January 2001, the city council approved the project but postponed a decision regarding a quote by Maya Angelou that was meant to be displayed on the monument's base. The proposed quote contained passages like, "We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others’ excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies were thrown overboard together." At the time, this quote was deemed too powerful, particularly due to the monument's planned location along the popular Savannah River promenade, a major tourist attraction in the city. A year later, an altered version of the inscription, which read, "Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy," received unanimous approval from the city council.

The monument was formally dedicated in 2002. In July 2019, a plaque was added to its base, commemorating the efforts of Abigail Jordan, an African American activist, who played a pivotal role in bringing the monument to fruition.

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African American Monument on Map

Sight Name: African American Monument
Sight Location: Savannah, USA (See walking tours in Savannah)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Savannah, Georgia

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