Prior to the unveiling of the African-American Family Monument on River Street in Savannah, Georgia, USA, on July 27, 2002, there were no public artworks commemorating the contributions of African Americans to the city's rich history. The absence of such recognition was particularly glaring because of Savannah's more than 50 percent black population. It was also problematic because of the numerous statues and public sites dedicated to acknowledging the lives and values of slave-holders who had attempted to separate from the Unites States and form their own confederacy.
Dr. Abigail Jordan insisted on a more balanced public representation of Savannah's history and for a decade led the battle to construct the African-American Family Monument. She personally donated more than $100,000 to help get the job done. The monument, painted golden-bronze in my "Historic Triumph of Dr. Abigail Jordan" montage seen here, is now one of the most visited in the city.
Abigail Jordan died January 9, 2019. The essay I first wrote about her for my book, The American Poet Who Went Home Again, has been revised for a forthcoming volume titled: Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah. Although completely different from the originals, the oil and watercolor rendered images of Dr. Jordan seen in this artwork, with one exception, were modeled after photographs she gave me with permission to use them in works documenting her legacy. (I invite anyone responsible for any original, and who wishes to be acknowledged for it, to contact me.) In the upper left quadrant, she is standing next to a bust of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
Fittingly enough, Abigail Jordan was born at the height of the Harlem Renaissance so I am honored to present this artwork during the 100th anniversary of the renaissance.
Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois
February 13th, 2019
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