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Birthday celebration Sunday for local historical figure
Hermina Glass-Hill
Hermina Glass-Hill, historian and writer, talks with students at Bradwell Institute in February about Susie Baker King Taylor, a Liberty-born slave who escaped and became a Civil War nurse, activist, teacher and author. Hill describes herself as an advocate for Taylor and considers her to be an American hero. - photo by By Lawrence Dorsey

Happy 169th Birthday Susie Baker King Taylor.

A special birthday celebration will be held in honor of Susie Baker King Taylor, the Liberty County-born slave who escaped and went on to become a nurse during the Civil War, teacher, activist and author.

Taylor was born August 6, 1848, on Grest plantation on Isle of Wight in Midway.

The birthday party is Sunday at Midway First Presbyterian Church from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Historian and writer Hermina Glass-Hill, believes it’s fitting to celebrate Taylor’s life and accomplishments in Midway where her life began.

 “The Bakers are relatives of Susie King and many are still here in Liberty County and they are a thriving community,” Hill said.

Elder Willie Washington, of Midway First Presbyterian, is related to the Baker family through marriage.

Washington said there are many people in Midway who have never heard of Taylor and believe it’s important for people, especially youth to know about her.

“Young people need to know that someone like her came from here, especially in today’s world and after having the first-African American president,” Washington said.

The celebration will be led by Rev. Dr. Jamil El-Shair, of Midway First Presbyterian, who will also perform an African libation ceremony.

And like many birthday parties, cake and ice cream will be served.

“We believe that Susie King Taylor’s life, as well as her accomplishments, are profoundly important in regards to history and culture of Liberty County and Georgia, and also in terms of the aim of democracy and social justice across several periods of American history,” Hill said. “As she is a native daughter of Midway, we want to remember, raise awareness, and celebrate her in a way that gives authentic praise to her contributions to the world.”

Hill encouraged people to come out to learn more about themselves, their history and Midway.

Hill will also debut her children’s book about Taylor’s life “Happy Birthday, Susie!” the first book in a series called “Oh Susannah!”

Each book in the series focuses on Taylor’s childhood experiences while at Grest plantation and living with her grandmother in Savannah, attending several secret or underground schools. The stories are based on Taylor’s autobiography “Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33rdUnited States Colored Troops.”

Hill hopes children, parents and schools incorporate the book into the curriculum because Taylor is a “local American hero.”

Others guests for the celebration include Midway Mayor Clemontine Washington, Liberty County Commissioners Chairman Donald Lovette, Commissioner Marion Stevens, President of the Georgia Historical Society Dr. W. Todd Groce, and Gullah-Geechee scholar and native of Riceboro Dr. A. Jamal Toure.

Midway First Prebyterian Church is located at 672 N Coastal Highway, Midway. The church will be celebrating its 150th birthday next year.

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