Hinesville, GA. The grand opening of the new exhibit honoring Liberty County-born Susie King Taylor will open on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at the Liberty County Historical Society in Downtown Hinesville.
The month of April is significant for the Susie King Taylor Women's Institute and Ecology Center. Annually, we celebrate April 13th as Freedom Day because it is the day that fourteen year old Susie King Taylor escaped from plantation slavery on Isle of Wight (now Midway) in Liberty County, Georgia during the Civil War. She became a nurse and the first federally funded African American teacher in the state of Georgia.
After the war, the Geechee-born Taylor returned to Georgia with her husband, Sgt. Edward King, and she opened three schools for formerly enslaved African Americans between Savannah and Midway. Tragedy visited her just six months after returning. Edward died. After Reconstruction, she was unable to earn a living in the South and in 1874 she migrated to Boston, Massachusetts for economic reasons. However, she returned to Midway in 1879 to marry her second husband, Russell Taylor, at her family church. In 1902, she wrote a self-published autobiography, Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33rd United States Colored Troops, offering details of the war from a Black woman's perspective.
For her heroism, bravery, courage, and trailblazing leadership before, during, and after the American Civil War Susie King Taylor is celebrated nationally at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail in Massachusetts. Now, Susie will be celebrated and honored in her home state, in her birthplace in Liberty County, Georgia!
The exhibit titled Susie King Taylor: Our Town, Our Geechee Heroine of Freedom, Our American Patriot of Liberty is a partnership between the Liberty County Historical Society. The exhibit is groundbreaking for the historical society, too. It is the first time in the organization's fifty-four year history that the historical society has curated an African American exhibit.
The exhibit brings Susie King Taylor and her story to life in an imaginative and tangible way. The executive director, Hermina Glass-Hill, is the exhibit curator and she has been dreaming about this moment for more than twelve years. "Susie King Taylor was a contemporary of Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross as well as Harriet Tubman. They all met as nurses during the Civil War at the Union Hospital in Beaufort, S. C. But somehow her story became an understory and got lost in American history until she wrote it herself in 1902. Now is her time. The sole mission of the Susie King Taylor Women's Institute and Ecology Center is to elevate her story and to champion the coastal natural resources that have sustained African-descended people in America since the 1600s."
The Grand Opening of Susie King Taylor: Our Town, Our Geechee Heroine of Freedom, Our American Patriot of Liberty is April 24, 2021 at the Liberty County Historical Society. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, online Reservations are required. Masks are mandatory. To make a reservation, please visit www.susiekingtaylorinstitute.org