Savannah, Ga. is my current place in the world. The history is rich here, and I feel. almost oddly. at home.
Georgia, being the 13th Colony, was the one colony founded as a Slave Free Colony: James Oglethorpe, the original governor, found the practice to be most foul; when he and his crew landed and settled in Savannah, his ideals pertaining to human trafficking were outrageously unpopular, especially considering that the view across the Savannah River, into South Carolina, blatantly showed the practice was in full force. Yet, he stood fast. And when Sherman brought his March to the Sea into Savannah, Gen. Arnold, the governor at the time, met him face to face to surrender: some were unhappy with this, but he did not want bloodshed inside the city. Arnold was a realist who recognized by that time, the Cause Was Lost, and there was no reason to allow bloodshed of the citizenry – another progressive thought.
Savannah is said to be the most haunted city in the United States. It may be – I have not had any encounter with ghosts – or should I say, not in the literal sense. (Often, literal ghosts disperse and head into the afterlife, once they are ready. )It is indeed haunted by issues of the past, including being occupied by the British during the Revolution, then by the Union during The War. After Oglethorpe left the colony to go back to London, slavery began in earnest by the 1750’s. Yellow Fever also saw the demise of many in 1820 and beyond. Conrad Aiken’s tragic family story occurred here. So, yes….there are indeed ghosts here, and they are the kind that will not disperse.
In many ways, I believe this initial status – that of being a Slave Free Colony- gave rise to Georgia at large being a tad bit more ‘progressive’ than my home state of Alabama. While I love Alabama, and since my hometown of Birmingham still contains family and wonderful friends, I look back and see how I was often a fugitive of the status quo….a vagabond to the conservative majority. There are indeed many liberals throughout Alabama, but it can cost you dearly – so many spent most of their lives living the same vagabond status. Coming to Georgia, I do know that there are many, many conservatives here as well, but being in Savannah in particular has brought some relief. It is an artistic community, that seems to embrace a tad more liberal outlook. Struggles still abound, but I believe things are indeed more progressive here. I can see conservatisms – they do have their roots here. Yet, we Liberals do not seem to have to hide in the shadows so much.
I will always go home to Alabama – even if and when I do not have any family there, as my many friends there are indeed extended family. In the meantime, Savannah is my place. The huge trees, the Spanish Moss, the Savannah River………the artistic nature of the downtown area…keeps me here. The coast line draws me near; and I do not want to leave – certainly not for some time to come. Maybe I will be a resident of Birmingham again, but I do not know when that will take place. Savannah owns me right now. I have things to get done here.