It’s long been Buddy Sullivan’s mission to share the history of Coastal Georgia. The historian, based in McIntosh County, has spent 35 years writing about the area’s past, its culture and ecology.
His body of work includes 21 books on various local topics, and he also offers frequent lectures both in Glynn and McIntosh Counties. Sullivan is currently preparing for two upcoming talks, the first of which will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Ida Hilton Public Library in Darien. The lecture, which will include a slide presentation, is titled, “Environmental Influences on Life & Labor in the Coastal Lowcountry.”
“The one I’m doing next week is an overview really of my newest book. It’s about the history of our coastal area from an ecological perspective. We will look at the local environment and how it has affect the way people live,” he said.
Topics to be touched on include the cultivation of rice in the Altamaha Delta in the 19th century, as well as the booming lumber business on St. Simons Island and in Darien during the Civil War era.
“We will also discuss the commercial fishing industry, which is of course a huge part of the economy today,” he said.
The final component of the talk will focus on how scientific research has fostered a greater understanding of the coast’s ecosystems and how they influence communities.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Following his Thursday lecture, Sullivan will turn his attention toward a six-week series hosted by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society is titled, “An Overview of Coastal Georgia History.” It will trace the area’s history from Native American culture through 20th century events, including World War II.
“It’s more of an in-depth look at what we will be talking about Thursday,” he said.
The course meets from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays from Jan. 15 to Feb. 19 at the A.W. Jones Heritage Center on St. Simons Island. The cost for the course is $65 for historical society members and $110 for non-members. Registration information can be found at www.coastalgeorgiahistory.org.
For Sullivan, offering these programs is an important way to help locals, guests and especially new residents gain a better understanding of this special place.
“I think that it’s crucial, especially for a newcomer or someone coming from another part of America to retire or have a seasonal home here. I don’t think they will have a clue about the pulse of the community if they don’t have a basic understanding of where we came from and where we are now,” Sullivan said. “I think it’s vital.”