February 29, 2024 10:02 am
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Savannah to install granite marker giving history of town square named after emancipated Black woman

Credit: Benjamin Payne / GPB News

Benjamin Payne, GPB News

A public square in downtown Savannah which was recently renamed after formerly enslaved educator and nurse Susie King Taylor will soon be getting a granite marker to reflect the history of its name change.

Savannah City Council approved Thursday the installation of a granite ground marker in the center of the square’s western portion, with language reading:

Taylor Square

Laid out 1851

1851 named for John C. Calhoun, 7th U.S. Vice President

2022 City Council removed the name of Calhoun, a staunch defender of slavery

2023 named in honor of Susie King Taylor, a formerly enslaved woman, nurse, educator and the first African American to openly teach in the state of Georgia

Erected by the City of Savannah 2024

“Because we are caretakers of history, we should not be trying to erase it,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said. “We wanted to make sure that the history of this square was adequately codified within the square.”

No date was set at the meeting for the marker’s installation, but Johnson said earlier this month at his inauguration that a ceremony would be held on Feb. 10.

Savannah City Council voted unanimously last August to make Taylor the first woman and first African American to serve as the namesake of one of Savannah’s 22 historic town squares.

The marker will be situated in a landscaped bed and is expected to cost about $1,400.

This story comes to Savannah Sun Times through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.