WOMEN'S INSTITUTE & ECOLOGY CENTER
“There are many people who do not know what colored women did during the war.”
~ Susie King Taylor in Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33rd United States Colored Troops, 1902
In the News...
The Susie King Taylor Women's Institute and Ecology Center is devoted to honoring the memory of American Heroine of Freedom, Susannah "Susie" Baker King Taylor, also known as Susie King Taylor. While enslaved on the Isle of Wight (now Midway) in Liberty County, Georgia, she escaped the bondage of slavery on April 13, 1862 during the War Between the States - The American Civil War. The exceptionalism exemplified in her life can be explained by the Divine belief systems cultivated and practiced within her Geechee family and community, her grandmother's broad social connections across plantations and within towns like Savannah in coastal Georgia, and through her intellect, will, and ability to observe the natural and social world around her.
The quote from her memoir,"There are many people who do not know what colored women did during the war," Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33rd United States Colored Troops, resonates deeply throughout our mission and goals at the Institute and it guides the programming facilitated by the Institute. We hear and we respond to our American Heroine of Freedom - our Ancestor - calling us through the spirit and desperation of her words. In them, she beckons us to unfurl each page of Reminiscences, to cultivate her garden of experiences with care, and to water the seeds which she planted more than one hundred and fifty years ago.
A call for nominations for the 2020 Georgia Governor's Awards for the Arts & Humanities has been issued, highlighting one of last year's awardees: Hermina Glass-Hill, Susie King Taylor Women's Institute and Ecology Center's executive director.
"The Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities—a partnership between Georgia Humanities, the Office of the Governor, and the Georgia Council for the Arts—honors both individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Georgia's civic and cultural vitality through service to the humanities or excellence in the arts."
From the press release announcing the 2020 nomination cycle:
"Hermina Glass-Hill’s career as a public historian, writer, and artist spans more than 25 years. She has contributed to African American cultural education through performance art, multimedia presentations, oral histories, and publications. She has demonstrated her commitment to uplifting, sharing, and preserving African American culture across the state by drawing on African American history in Georgia to tell new stories.
"While associate director of the Center for the Study of the Civil War Era at Kennesaw State University (2008–12), Glass-Hill collaborated with the National Park Service and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to facilitate symposia that highlighted counter-narratives for the Civil War Sesquicentennial. She also served as the principal ethnographic researcher of a report on African American attitudes toward the Civil War, “The War of Jubilee: Tell Our Story and We Will Come” (2011), which continues to be a highly acclaimed publication of the National Park Service. Glass-Hill’s work influenced Civil War parks beyond Kennesaw Mountain and provided important data on how to engage African American communities effectively.
"Glass-Hill is recognized as a champion of cultural and environmental sustainability among the Geechee communities in coastal Georgia. In 2016 she founded, and now directs, the Susie King Taylor Women’s Institute and Ecology Center in Midway, Georgia. The Center honors the life and story of Susie King Taylor, an African American nineteenth-century educator and author who was born into slavery in Liberty County.
"The Center recently held its annual Mami Wata Rising International Conference virtually (in response to the COVID-19 pandemic), and featured scholars Sowandé Mustakeem, author of Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage, and environmentalist Audrey Peterman, author of From My Jamaican Gully to the World: The Environmental Journey of Audrey Peterman, a memoir describing Peterman’s journey from her childhood in Jamaica to her life as an environmental activist and conservation professional.
"Glass-Hill is considered the foremost scholar on Susie King Taylor in the United States, and is currently working on Taylor's biography."