SAVANNAH — City officials hope a new black history brochure will attract black tourists to learn more about the city’s history.

The new brochure by the Savannah Convention and Visitors Bureau reflects the city’s determination to attract black tourists, putting Savannah squarely into the growing competition for black tourist dollars.

“African Americans are tourists, too, and they want to visit their history,” said Charles J. Elmore, a Savannah State University humanities professor and one of the contributors to the new Black Heritage brochure.

The glossy brochure highlights black churches and cultural attractions. It lists several “significant and prominent black Savannahians” buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery and calls direct attention to famous people from the area, including civil rights icon W.W. Law and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Savannah is where Union Gen. David Hunter issued an emancipation edict in 1862 and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman read Special Order 15, the famous “Forty acres and a mule” proclamation, to an audience of former slaves in January 1865.

“Several years ago, the CVB’s marketing committee decided that the African-American market is the only niche market we would pursue,” said Anthony Schopp, bureau president.

In South Carolina, officials have a package of black tours and trails that span the state. Charleston, S.C., officials promote several sites for black tourists and has the Avery Center for African-American Studies.

Atlanta calls itself the “premier meeting destination for African Americans” and attracted more than 320,000 visitors to black meetings and events last summer for a $264.5 million boost to the city’s economy.

Its visitors bureau has a sales department that books family reunions, an annual event for many black families.

React to this story:



Recommended for you