Downtown Savannahians help preserve forgotten history

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah’s Archive Department and the Coastal Heritage Society are looking through pages of history. It’s part of an effort to record what happened in areas near Frogtown, Yamacraw and West Broad Street.

City archivists sat down with longtime residents like Ernest Greene to gather oral history, Greene said he’s proud to call Yamacraw Village his “hometown”.

A community outside the beaten path, Yamacraw Village was more than affordable housing for Ernest Greene

“My grandmother Erami Green was one of the first to be qualified to move in the project,” said Greene. “My grandfather was a bricklayer and he was hired to help build the project.”

The affordable housing project at Yammacraw was one of the biggest of its time according to Greene

“No petitions, no insolations but that was the times of the 40s and 50s,” said Greene.

The former civil rights activists lived in Yamacraw for the first 25 years of his life.

“The reason we stayed so long I believe, is because my father worked in downtown Savannah,” said Greene. “Yammacraw is just one block over Martin Luther King, back in the day we called it West Broad St school.”

Emily Beck with the Coastal Georgia Society said, its stories like Greene’s that help preserve the fabric of Savannah’s history.

“It’s just making connections with people and making sure they know that they are important and that their story is important to the city of Savannah,” said Beck.

City archivists will make digital copies of all the memorabilia and then return them.

“It’s so nice to highlight other elements of the city’s history,” said Beck. “I think that the more history we can have the more and the more stories we can tell the more complete picture we can have of the history of our city.”

If you missed today’s event the city wants to make it easier for you to contribute, they have an online portal where you can submit here.

Current or past residents are asked to contact the Municipal Archives for more information at (912) 651-6412.

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