Mark Eckel on his Savannah Trip

Title page – (7 seconds) Mark Eckel on his Savannah Trip

11:57 – 12:34
I was very fortunate to apply for and get a slot at the National Endowment for the Humanities Workshop in Savannah, GA that was based on the, that was investigating the culture of the “Gullah-Geechee” people, African Americans who live in the Georgia low country, the Sea Islands of off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. I have always been interested in that culture and I am interested in the Reconstruction period, and this was the place where the famous “Forty Acres and a Mule” promise was delivered and taken back.

12:45 – 13:28
I learnt things that I can use in all my classes and it has really almost changed my way of thinking. One thing, we read a lot of books. This was the assigned reading list plus a bunch of stuff we had to read online and I learnt somethings about family life in the 19th century that I am going to be able to use in my Marriage and Family class. I always make the point about how much work it took to keep a family going in the 19th century and certainly in you know the years before that, but even as recently as the 19th century, in that it really constrained people’s options about family life. Somebody had to do the work that it took to keep a family fed and clothed and housed and clean.

13:42 – 14:28
The other thing that I will be able to use in one of my other classes is just a reminder of the terrific mortality in those days. We talk about that in Sociology, about something called the “Demographic Transition” where we go from high fertility and lots of death to having very few children, living a very long time, and that just changes everything. Well, I was reminded in the book about the plantation, again about the mortality rate. One of the characters in this story, this is, it’s a true story, died at a great age. He was you know in his seventies. He was buried with three of his wives and fourteen of his children. So that  he outlived three wives and fourteen kids and that was not that unusual in those days.