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"People, Places and Stories That Define Savannah" Lecture Series: Dr. Paul Pressly

Date:  - 7:00 PM

Location: Historic Savannah Foundation Headquarters 321 East York Street, Savannah, GA 31401

Maps & Directions

Historic Savannah Foundation is pleased to host award-winning historian and acclaimed educator Dr. Paul Pressly as the first speaker in the 2024 Lecture Series, “People, Places and Stories That Define Savannah” on Thursday, January 25 at Historic Savannah Foundation’s headquarters, located at 321 E. York Street. Attendees are invited to attend a wine reception at 5:30 p.m. The discussion will start at 6 p.m.


Historic Savannah Foundation’s 2024 Lecture Series is open to the public. Reservations are recommended, as space is limited. Attendance is free for Historic Savannah Foundation members and $15 for non-members. Members and non-members may RSVP by emailing Kendall Graham at [email protected] or calling 912-233-7787, ext. 109.

Pressly will share the story of Betty and Hercules, an enslaved Ossabaw Island couple who, along with a small group of enslaved people, escaped the island during the Revolutionary War. His lecture will address the flow of Black freedom seekers from Georgia to Spanish Florida and how it impacted the geography of slavery in the Southeast during the post-revolutionary period.

An accomplished historian, Pressly is the author of On the Rim of the Caribbean: Colonial Georgia and the British Atlantic World (University of Georgia Press, 2013), which earned the Bell Award from the Georgia Historical Society as the best book published on Georgia history in 2013. He also served as co-editor of Coastal Nature, Coastal Culture: Environmental Histories of the Georgia Coast (University of Georgia Press, 2018) and received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities. The University of Georgia Press will publish his forthcoming book, A Southern Underground Railroad: Black Georgians and the Promise of Spanish Florida and Indian Lands, in the spring of 2024.

Pressly served as headmaster of The Savannah Country Day School from 1981 until 2004 and as president and chairman of national boards in Washington and Boston that set educational policy for independent schools, including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). He is also the former director of the Ossabaw Island Education Alliance, which included researching and telling the story of the African Americans on the island. As part of this work, he organized a symposium on African American life on the Georgia coast and produced a book published by the University of Georgia Press, African American Life in the Georgia Lowcountry: the Gullah-Geechee and the Atlantic World.

Pressly currently serves on numerous boards, including Bethesda Academy, the Hodge Foundation and the UGA Press Advisory Council. He earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Oxford, an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a B.A. from Princeton University.

Admission Details: $15 for non-Historic Savannah Foundation members; FREE for Historic Savannah Foundation members

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