A collaboration of students and researchers will host a lecture and presentation series about the history of St. Simons Island’s African-American community Saturday.

The event, titled “Telling Our Stories: African-American Life and Culture on St. Simons Island,” will be from 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Glynn Visual Arts, 106 Island Drive, St. Simons Island. It is free and open to the public.

Melanie Pavich, an associate professor of interdisciplinary and historical studies at Mercer University’s Penfield College, said undergraduate students and academic researchers will present what they have learned.

“It’s a program of digital stories that are focused, primarily, on the history of African-American cemeteries on St. Simons Island,” Pavich said. “The research is based on interviews conducted by Mercer University in collaboration with the St. Simons Island African-American Heritage Coalition.”

Most of the interviews were of living descendents of slaves buried in a cemetery where the Sea Island golf club is now, Pavich said.

“I think for the people who come, they can expect to learn about African- American history and life on St. Simons Island,” she said. “It’s the history of the cemetery, who is buried there, how families are connected to the cemetery and what that means.”

Five students will present their research, along with Stephen Berry, a professor of history with the University of Georgia and historian Christopher Lawton of the Virtual Georgia History Project.

“Our goal is to make African-American history on St. Simons Island, and in Coastal Georgia, more visible,” Pavich said. “We want to make it more accessible, and highlight how valuable it is for understanding the coastal area.”

The program is the culmination of five years work of interviews conducted by Mercer University students. It was funded by a $2,000 grant to Mercer University from Georgia Humanities, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, through funding from the Georgia General Assembly.

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