Savannah’s Public Square To Be Renamed After John Calhoun Removal

A new list of nominees is being considered to be honored in Georgia’s currently unnamed public squares, according to an August 12 Associated Press report. The latest news surrounding the historic green space is diverse, since nine months ago, Georgia removed the name of a pro-slavery U.S. vice president from one of its public squares. Most notably, one of the nominees is a Black woman who taught formerly enslaved people how to read and write.

The square had been named for South Carolinian John C. Calhoun for nearly 200 years. While serving as a vice president and congress member, Calhoun avidly supported slavery before the Civil War and later became a Confederacy member. 

However, Susie King Taylor is a candidate to be honored in his place. Taylor opened a school for Black people of all ages on the coast back in 1862. She was supported by Union soldiers in her endeavors to educate and protect enslaved people. Through her literacy and activism work, Savannah is considering choosing her name to be featured in one of the city’s squares.

The vote for a new name, which includes six in total, will occur on August 24. Out of all the finalists, none are white men. The finalist includes Black pastors, a formerly enslaved person, an army pilot, a civil rights fighter, and Native Americans from indigenous Savannah tribes. 

Chairman of Savannah’s Historic Site and Monument Commission, Kristopher Monroe, said of the pool, “Regardless of what name is picked, it will be a name that represents more diversity in Savannah, and sort of expands the story that Savannah tells about itself.”

A guided tour leader from the area spoke to the outlet about how important it was that the square was adequately named after Calhoun was removed. 

“This square has a lot of memories for what it used to be. It is honorable to say we can remove Calhoun.”