Local vernacular history is a recurring theme for us this month.
Regular readers will remember Patrick Rodgers’ spread a couple of issues ago on the Ebb and Flow documentation project and accompanying book about Savannah’s Eastside neighborhoods.
This week he follows up with a cover story on David Strohl’s “Qualifies for Dreammaker” photo exhibit at Indigo Sky Gallery documenting life in and near Savannah’s Midtown/Eastside area.
All of this is the kind of work I’ve been wanting to see happen here for so long: Efforts which combine journalism, historical research, and art in order to cast light where little light was cast before. It’s inspiring, actually.
Despite the constant (and certainly understandable) focus on the Historic District, Savannah is also a city of rich, diverse neighborhoods with similarly rich and diverse stories. The fact that many of their residents, black and white, weren’t always affluent doesn’t make their history any less important or interesting.
I confess I have a soft spot for this kind of vernacular journalism. I would much rather read and hear about regular people taking part in the regular rhythms of life than in the high profile activities of the rich and famous.
I’m weird like that.
Thankfully I’ve got a lot of “weird” company, such as local scholars Martha Keber and Carl Elmore and Cultural Affairs contract coordinator Michelle Hunter, who put together the seminal Ebb and Flow multimedia project.
If you haven’t gotten a copy of the print edition of Ebb and Flow, you can get one at the Cultural Affairs office at 9 W. Henry St.
For a digital dropcard version, go to the main library at 2002 Bull St. or the Jepson Center.
You can also visit www.savannahneighborhoods.org for a closer online look.
There is a screening of a documentary on the project this Thursday night in the Jepson Center. The documentary Ebb and Flow, produced by All Walks of Life (AWOL) and the City of Savannah screens this Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the Jepson.
One of the stated purposes of these documentation projects — previous editions include the Benjamin Van Clark and Westside neighborhoods — is to provide a chronicle of communities impacted by some change in urban design and planning, such as the razing of Fellwood Homes. (This is true of Patrick’s cover story this week as well.)
Kudos to everyone involved in this kind of crucial but often thankless community work.