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Savannah Civil War Sites: Underground Railroad Stations

Underground Railroad,African Americans escaping slavery | Photo Chas. T. Webber, Library of Congress

Underground Railroad: African Americans in wagon and on foot, escaping from slavery with assistance. Photo: Chas.T. Webber, Library of Congress

SAVANNAH Georgia (April 8, 2013) — Green Palm Inn, a cottage bed and breakfast in downtown Savannah, is in the neighborhood of African-American history on Greene Square.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial (2011-2015) has spurred us to research that period of Savannah history more to learn what was happening in our Savannah inn’s neighborhood in the 1800s.

Of the Underground Railroad, we discover there were “stations” and champions dedicated to the cause of freeing men, women and children from slavery.  In Stories of the Underground Railroad by Anna L. Curtis we read of the volunteer freedom heroes, informally known as “engineers” and “conductors”.

Many who were dedicated to this cause were the Christians and “Friends” — the Quakers — who took to heart the Bible verse condemning slavery. For example, when Friend Hopper rushed to rescue a kidnapped, young African boy — Wajelma (see page 16 at link) — he quoted Deuteronomy 23: 15 to justify the lad’s release —  “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee”.

In Savannah, we recommend a visit to First African Baptist Church on Franklin Square, and Fort Pulaski National Monument.

University professor and Savannah historian Charles J. Elmore tells of March Haynes, serving the Union army during the Civil War. “Haynes was an African-American spy and commando under the orders of Brig. Gen. Quincey Gilmore,” explained Elmore.

Fort Pulaski | Photo: Library of Congress

Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island (background) birds-eye view from Tybee Island, GA | Library of Congress

“His job was to gather information for the Union Army and other covert activities. But at night, he helped spur the beginning of an escape route to freedom in Savannah from 1860 throughout the Civil War.”

“In the darkness, March Haynes filled his bateau with African Americans and quietly paddled them to freedom at Fort Pulaski.” — Source: Savannah Morning News, April 15, 2004.

For our bed and breakfast guests, Green Palm Inn will make other recommendations for Savannah sightseeing tours with Civil War and/or African-American focus.

Additional resources:
– Green Palm Inn blog: Savannah GA & Civil War Sesquicentennial (2011-2015)
– Green Palm Inn blog: Savannah Black Heritage: Culture Rich Ideas From Green Palm Inn
– Green Palm Inn blog: African-American Storytelling Through Modern Art in Savannah GA: Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd
Freedom Center
National Park Service: Underground Railroad

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