Here's a little inside scoop from your Savannah hospitality hosts - every month is Black History Month in Savannah.
February may be the shortest month of the year to commemorate Black History, but it doesn’t have to be! To put it bluntly, one month is not enough time to address the colossal amount of black history to unveil. Moreover, it is certainly not enough time to recognize African Americans as key partakers in what we now know about the history of the United States of America, am I right?
Truth is, there is a copious amount of information waiting to be uncovered and lucky for you, Savannah is a living, breathing, historical memoir ready for you to explore! There are one-of-a kind tours available to all guest visitors (and residents) willing to dive deeper into the African American experience.
To help us wrap our heads around it all, we encourage you to turn to black local historians. One expert tour guide we highly-recommend is Miss Vaughnette Goode-Walker.
Ms. Goode-Walker is ready to take you on a stroll through the Footprints of Savannah to address black history including the uncomfortable topic of the Slave Trade in the 1800s. This subject tends to be glossed over when we speak about modern day Savannah, which is exactly why we highly recommend you check it out during your next visit.
The Footprints of Savannah tour does not have a set time limit once it gets started. Each experience is unique to you and your “quaranteam,” welcoming questions based on your level of curiosity. This makes it that much more interesting (depending on who you bring of course). To make the most out of your tour, we recommend you come prepared with questions or topics you want to discuss. Remember, there is no such thing as asking a stupid question in a learning environment!
As Ms. Vaughnette says - “learn the history, not the mystery”.
And be sure to wear a good pair of walking shoes! This tour is going to be completely on foot (you might’ve already caught on by the name of the tour).
Some of the stops include:
If you’re interested in booking this tour, in person or virtually, visit Footprints of Savannah Walking Tours.
Other Black-Owned Businesses to Explore:
Not all Southern food is the same. Below are a few selections we’ve hand-picked to showcase the beauty in the black cultural experience which can only be explained with deliciously spiced food.
To summarize, The Grey Restaurant is a story of hope.
An old Greyhound train station where blacks and whites stood segregated has become a present-day hit, owned by Female African-American Executive Chef, Mashama Bailey, in friendship with White entrepreneur, John O. Morisano. This black-owned business continues to thrive as a must-try on every foodie’s restaurant list.
Executive Chef Mashama Bailey proudly embraces the 180 degree transformation of Savannah’s then to Savannah’s now
If and when you get the chance to eat here, you’ll taste how Chef Bailey brilliantly uses her culinary mastery to exalt the authentic black heritage experience in ways all guests can deliciously partake in.
Before you come to Savannah looking for the sought-after southern fried chicken experience, perhaps we should honor what partaking in this meal means to black-business owners today.
“African-American history in this area is so rich. These traditions and food, it’s about the storytelling and preserving heritage. Whenever you get a bunch of people at a table, you learn about the people at that table. The young folks learn about their elders, they learn about their culture, and listen to stories about the past. I feel this responsibility to educate people through my cooking. That’s the part of Savannah that I want to share.”
Executive Chef, The Grey Restaurant
Located at 2605 Skidaway Rd, Savannah, GA 31404, this black-owned and operated local restaurant is another gem you’ll feel good about supporting, as long as you make sure you come with an empty stomach.
This mouthwatering Southern menu includes the traditional mac n cheese, fried or baked chicken, oxtails, fish, shrimp, juicy collard greens, green beans, creamy mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and even some vegan wings! As you can see, there is something for even the pickiest of eaters to enjoy. What makes this restaurant different? We’re so glad you asked - it’s the homemade spices, which you can taste for yourself as a guest and if you love it, you can take it home with you in a bottle! Seriously! Sisters of the New South, provides “Sisters Seasonings” aka their secret mix of southern flavors in a bottle for purchase. Oh and in case you were wondering, they also offer delivery, take out and catering options if you’re interested.
In the times of social-distancing and mask-wearing, it is still very important to keep in mind how our choices as consumers can create a positive or negative impact for local business owners, especially for historically marginalized communities. We ask that you please respectfully abide by CDC guidelines, Savannah’s city regulations, City orders (last updated on March 3, 2021), as well as the safety precautions set forth by the business owner’s request.
We hope you feel inspired to explore the black history of the South during your next visit and consider supporting black owned businesses beyond the month of February. For a more comprehensive list of black-owned businesses, check out Uplift Savannah: Savannah's black business directory. We are so proud to share that there are so many more ways that you can support the local African-American community as an awesome South Key guest.