Sunday, June 15, 2014

Final Summary

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Low Country and Sea Islands Summary

            The Low Country and Sea Islands on the East Coast of the United States of America have a distinct and unique region, culture, and people. The region is, of course, close to the sea and low to sea level. When I first heard about the trip, I never imagined it would turn out like it did. The trip was way more than I ever could have expected. I loved most if not all of the activities that the group did. Dr. Deal did a fantastic job of organizing and planning this May Term trip. We as a group really did immerse ourselves into the low country and Sea Islands. The cultures that we witnessed were just as unique as the landscape itself. My favorite culture by far was the Gullah-Geechee community at Pin Point Heritage Museum. The people at Pin Point really do care about and express their ancestral roots to the max. I love that they care for what they believe in as well as what they stand for. The people on the islands and in the low country are completely different. On Tybee Island, I met some locales and they were completely different than locales from Charleston. Charleston was relaxed and laid back but Tybee was even more relaxed and laid back. The Sea Islands are truly on island time because most are retired, elderly couples and they just want to enjoy the rest of the time they have on this earth while Charleston is a big city where people have to go and do stuff on a regular basis. I had been to both islands and big cities but the Sea Islands and Charleston are completely unique from their peers. I had never heard of the low country or the Sea Islands before this trip so I did not know what to expect. However, after this trip, I would always like to return to the Sea Islands for vacation or retirement. I fell in love with St. Simons Islands, and Tybee Island. Those two islands are vacation islands but nothing like Myrtle Beach or Daytona. On the Sea Islands, you get to experience vacation but on our own time and not on someone else’s. In Myrtle Beach, your day is dictated by the shows and restaurants in the area and what time they close and open. On St. Simons, you practically have all day to do what you want and I loved it. I will go back to the Sea Islands one day and hopefully it is for good. As for Charleston, I would not mind vacationing there or going on a cruise from there, but I would never want to live there. Overall, the trip was amazing and the time was memorable. Well, it has been a fun three weeks for me and the rest of the gang but this is Ryan Kluk signing off for the last time.

Fort Sumter: Day 20

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Fort Sumter

Description: On the groups last full day in Charleston, South Carolina, Holden, Graves, Austin, and myself decided to go visit Fort Sumter National Monument. The four of us had to pay eighteen dollars to get on a ferry and ride over to the island where Fort Sumter is located. We got to walk around the entire fort and see inside the gunpowder room and magazine rooms. My favorite spot on the fort was the spot where the first shot from Fort Johnson hit Fort Sumter. My favorite story about Fort Sumter was the one about how after being bombarded by cannons, the fort got stronger even though the walls were falling. Fort Sumter is a neat fort and it has a lot of history as well. Fort Sumter is the place where the Civil War first began between the North and the South.

Reflection: When you see a place of history like Fort Sumter, you stand in awe by what the people of the time were able to accomplish. Fort Sumter is made entirely by hand with no machinery. The fort is by no means small in size either. When I saw Fort Sumter, I could not help but be amazed because in the mid 1800’s, Sumter was built. In today’s society, being able to work with your hands is almost a lost art but during the time Fort Sumter was being built, working with your hands was all that mattered. My dad is a carpenter and all he does is work with his hands but he works with wood and not masonry. However, the concept is still the same and I am grateful that my father taught me and still teaches me how to work with my hands to this very day.

Analysis: While the building process of Fort Sumter is neat, the part most people care about is the fort’s part in the Civil War. Fort Sumter is where the Civil War began as mentioned above. Fort Sumter was the first victory for the Confederacy as well as the Civil War. Fort Sumter, along with Fort Moultrie, was key to protecting the important port city of Charleston. Charleston was the main port on the east coast for the Confederacy. Without Fort Sumter, Charleston would have fallen to the Union much earlier than it did. Fort Sumter should always be remembered, not for being part of the Confederacy, but for being part of a war that gave many people their freedom. Slaves helped build Fort Sumter but after the Civil War, former slaves occupied the fort for the Union during Reconstruction. Fort Sumter was key to America and the Confederacy but ultimately, the fort sided with the Union metaphorically speaking. Overall, history is key to the future and Fort Sumter has a lot of history to display to the people of Charleston and the people of America. 

Gullah-Geechee Part 2: Day 19 cont.Image provdied

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Gullah-Geechee Part 2

Description: During a Piccolo-Spoleto Event in Charleston, South Carolina, our group went to a Gullah-Geechee concert. The group we saw sang multiple songs including some from the opera Porgy and Bess. The concert lasted about an hour and ten minutes and it was lovely. The group sounded amazing and it was cool to see how they value their ancestral roots. There was five different soloist and each soloist did an exquisite job. Listening to this concert really tided in a lot of the trip with the Gullah-Geechee community.  The concert was my favorite part of being in Charleston besides Ft. Sumter.  That can’t there was not only great entertainment but it was also a great way to learn about the Gullah-Geechee community and history with music.

Reflection: Seeing how this Gullah-Geechee community in Charleston still values its ancestral roots shows me that I should value my Polish ancestral roots even in America today.  While listening to the concert I thought to myself that I should also remember my ancestral roots just like is Gullah-Geechee community does today.  When you remember your ancestral roots, you remember your family’s history and where you came from.  Remembering where you came from is key to where you’ll go in the future.  While most people want to go headfirst into the future they must first remember the past to succeed.  While the future holds the change in the world the past holds how we will change the world. I want to be able to remember my ancestral roots just as well if not stronger than the Gullah-Geechee community that the group witnessed while in Charleston, South Carolina.

Analysis: The concert in Charleston, South Carolina is important to the community of Charleston because the Gullah-Geechee community lies at its roots.  Charleston is a port city as we all know, which allowed slave traders to bring a lot of slaves into the city.  When those slave traders brought the slaves and to Charleston, those ladies eventually form their own community called the Gullah-Geechee.  The Gullah-Geechee have been in Charleston for hundreds of years and today that community has dwindled to a very small amount.  The city of Charleston should remember the Gullah-Geechee because the Gullah-Geechee have been in Charleston since its inception.  The Gullah-Geechee community should always be remembered because of its ancestral roots. The concert during the Piccolo-Spoleto event reminded the audience that even though the Gullah-Geechee community in Charleston is small, they are still prevalent in today’s society.  Overall, a concert at the AME church in Charleston featuring the Gullah-Geechee community was a perfect display of how that community is connected to the city of Charleston, South Carolina.

For Moultrie: Day 19

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Fort Moultrie

Description: In the morning of the group’s second full day in Charleston, we visited Fort Moultrie National Monument on Sullivan’s Island. Fort Moultrie was first built for the Revolutionary War in 1776 using Palmetto trees and earth and was in service until 1947. The fort was in use for six different wars spanning 171 years. The fort has been built and rebuilt a total of three times. Fort Moultrie got its name because the first commander of the fort was Colonel. William Moultrie. Fort Moultrie was the site of the first naval victory in the Revolutionary War for the Patriots. Fort Moultrie is now a brick fort and is smaller than the original fort built for the American Revolution.

Reflection: I love history and getting to visit, see, and walk through a fort that had been in commission for six separate wars was amazing. I loved how the National Park Service made Fort Moultrie part of Fort Sumter National Park. When touring Fort Moultrie, you see and read information that no website or video can depict. Our park ranger told the group the story of how the fort was used during the Revolutionary War and I loved that story because Fort Moultrie is the site where the United States won its first ever naval battle. I had never heard of Fort Moultrie before we went to visit the park but I am glad we did visit that particular fort. Everyone knows about Fort Sumter but not nearly as many know about Fort Moultrie which, in my opinion, is more important because Moultrie helped America gain its independence from the British.

Analysis: Preserving historical sites like Fort Moultrie is a common occurrence in Charleston. One of the old train depots that ran through Charleston is now a Harris Teeter and looks just the same as it did before it was converted to a grocery store. Fort Moultrie was key to the city of Charleston because it protected the city from the British until the city was sieged in 1780. When the British took control of Charleston, they completely avoided Fort Moultrie because the Patriots easily defeated British Admiral Sir Peter Parker in 1776. Without Fort Moultrie, Charleston would have been taken over by the British in 1776 and they would have been able to start their southern campaign earlier than 1780 which might have won them the war. Fort Moultrie was also used extensively during the Civil War. Confederates used the fort along with Fort Sumter to protect the port of Charleston. Fort Moultrie is also the birthplace of the South Carolina state flag. William Moultrie designed the blue flag with a crest in the corner to fly at Fort Moultrie. Later down the road, the citizens of South Carolina added a Palmetto tree to Moultrie’s design to commemorate Fort Moultrie’s victory in 1776 using Palmetto logs as the outer wall of the fort. Overall, Fort Moultrie is important militarily and its legacy lives on through the South Carolina state flag.

Walking Tour of Charleston, S.C.: Day 18 cont.

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Walking Tour of Charleston, S.C.

Description: On our first full day in Charleston, South Carolina, the group took a walking tour of downtown Charleston. The group saw the city market, which was given to the city of Charleston by the Pinckney family, the battery, and Rainbow Row. Our tour Guide, Mrs. Georgia, provided the group with a plethora of facts and stories that involve the city of Charleston. The tour lasted around two hours and we walked a total of about three miles. Mrs. Georgia gave the group facts that only a local would know including showing the group where Stephen Colbert, a comedian from Hampden-Sydney, grew up.

Reflection: While on the walking tour, I realized that Mrs. Georgia did the same thing the Savannah Trolley Tours did on our first day of the trip. However, I discovered that the walking tour of Charleston was more interesting than the trolley tour of Savannah because we as a group were walking the city and seeing the history up close. The walking tour provided knowledge on the history of Charleston which I adored. Learning the history of a big port city in America gave me so much excitement. Charleston was and is still influential in the economy of the South. Listening to Mrs. Georgia tell the group about Charleston was a perfect event for me because I loved hearing how the history and stories of Charleston developed and molded the culture and vibe the city gives off. The walking tour also gave the group a great look at while Charleston is considered the low country. While on the tour, and especially at the battery, I saw how close the city was to the sea level

Analysis: A walking tour of Charleston is the best way to see the city, learn its history, and experience its unique culture. The walking tour gives the people on the tour a personal and up close look at the many aspects the city has to offer. You get to see Catfish Row, the place where the opera Porgy and Bess was based off of. You also see Rainbow Row, a row of houses painted with bright colors that has no historic value but is just interesting. Not only do you visit historic and touristy attractions, you also see people who call Charleston their home. The people of Charleston take pride in the city’s history. They also embrace the new direction that the city of Charleston is headed. The city is starting to rely on tourism more and less on the port itself. While the port is still the main attribute of Charleston, the tourism of Charleston is growing and the citizens of the city understand that and they take advantage of it. A great example is the walking tour the group took. Overall, the walking tour is the best way to see most if not all of the amazing qualities the city of Charleston, South Carolina has to offer.

Drayton Hall Plantation: Day 18

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Drayton Hall Plantation

Description: In Charleston, South Carolina, the first use of Georgian-Palladian architecture in North America was displayed at Drayton Hall. Drayton Hall was built by John Drayton in the 1730’s. The mansion sits on a 350 acre property that backs up all the way to the Ashlie River. Carter Hudgins, a Hampden-Sydney graduate from 2000, gave the group a private tour of the plantation. We saw the slave cemetery, the mansion, the landscape, and the archeology building that holds all the artifacts found on the plantation. The plantation was not a commercial plantation like most plantations were at the time. The Drayton Hall Plantation was the headquarters of all the plantations owned by John Drayton and his son, Charles Drayton. Not only was Drayton Hall the headquarters for John Drayton, the mansion he built was also a display to show the power and wealth that he had.

Reflection: Carter Hudgins, our tour guide, is the deputy director of the Drayton Hall Plantation. Carter received a degree in history from Hampden-Sydney College in 2000 and now he has a job where he can use those skills he learned from Sydney. I want to be like Carter in a sense because I want to be able to incorporate my love for history with the job profession I choose. Carter runs a museum which displays multiple aspects of history. I want to do the same as Carter but at a museum like the Smithsonian. Now, the Smithsonian is a larger and more important museum than Drayton Hall but the concept is still the same. The Smithsonian incorporates multiple aspects of history on a larger scale. Seeing Carter and is love for history proved to me that I want a profession where I can use history but also love what I do for a living.

Analysis: Drayton Hall Plantation is a different look on plantations in the South. Drayton Hall was not used for commercial use like Monticello in Virginia or Hayes Plantation in North Carolina. Drayton Hall was a plantation to display John Drayton’s power and wealth as well as the headquarters for the rest of his plantations. Drayton Hall shows people today that large plantations with hundreds of slaves was not always the case. Drayton Hall was only 350 acres in size and had twenty to thirty slaves on the grounds. Most plantation owners lived on a plantation that was used for commercial use but John Drayton did not and he set the norm for South Carolina. A lot of other plantation owners in South Carolina began to do what John Drayton did at Drayton Hall. They would build a mansion on a small plantation and use it as a headquarters for the rest of their plantations as well as use it to display their wealth. Overall, Drayton Hall started the new norm of plantation owners in South Carolina and introduced a new form of architecture in America called Palladian.

Wild Horses Roam the Island: Day 17

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Wild Horses Roam the Island

Description: On Cumberland Island, wild horses roam freely all over the 21,000 acres. The horses are a key factor to why people visit Cumberland Island National Seashore. The horse population on the island averages around 150 every year give or take twenty horses. The horses on the island are a variety of colors including black, brown, and white. The average lifespan of a Cumberland horse is seven years. Now, seven years is not a long time for a horse to live and the reason the Cumberland horses have a short lifespan is because of the minimal amount of grazing land on the island and inbreeding. The horses on Cumberland Island are not native. They were first brought by the Spanish in the 16th century and then again by the Carnegie family when Thomas Carnegie bought the island in the 1880’s.

Reflection: Seeing wild horses on Cumberland Island was my first experience of seeing horses that were neither in a stable nor on a farm. Seeing the wild horses allowed me to take a step back in time because horses use to run wild and free in America before the United States started to expand west towards the Pacific Ocean. The horses on the island are so used to humans that anyone can get close without the horses acting scared or frightened. When I saw the wild horses, I was in awe for two reasons. First, they are wild horses and I had never seen a wild horse in my entire life. Second, the horses are extremely malnourished due to the poor grazing area on the island. When you got close enough, you could see five to seven of the horse’s ribs. The wild horses allowed me to see what America was like before people started capturing and herding the wild horses.

Analysis: The wild horses are a major factor to why some people visit Cumberland Island National Seashore. Yes, some people do want to see the First African Baptist Church, Plum Orchard, or Dungeness but some want to see horses wild and free. The environment is the major factor to the small size of the horse population and their short lifespan. The island has only a few spots where there is grass for the horses to graze. And the grass that the horses do graze does not have all the nutrients that the horses need to live a long and healthy life. The National Park Service thought about getting rid of all the horses on Cumberland Island because the horses are not native to the island and they damage the environment. However, the National Park Service decided not to eradicate the horses because of how the horses played into the history of Cumberland Island. A law was passed by the state Georgia that protects the horses on Cumberland Island so that they can never be eradicated. Overall, the wild horses on Cumberland Island are not only a spectacular site to see but also a piece of the history of the island.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Land and Legacies Tour: Day 16

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Land and Legacies Tour

Description: The National Park Service on Cumberland Island gives a tour of the northern part of the island as well as Plum Orchard. At the north end of the island is the First African Baptist Church and the Settlement. The Settlement is where the newly freed slaves and the generations after them lived while working for the Carnegie family until 1972. Plum Orchard is one of the Carnegie mansions on Cumberland Island. Lucy Carnegie built Plum Orchard as a wedding present for her son, George Lauder Carnegie. The tour also takes the passengers through the wilderness area on Cumberland Island. While on the tour, our tour guide gave us bits and pieces of information about every spot we visited. The tour really gave the group a perfect outlook on what life on Cumberland Island was like not only for the Carnegie’s on the island but the newly freed slaves and their descendants.

Reflection: While listening to our tour guide tell us facts that I can no longer remember, I thought to myself ‘Why didn't the newly freed slaves leave the island?’ Well, I discovered that Cumberland Island was all that the former slaves knew. They had never been anywhere but Cumberland Island and they only knew a certain skill or two focusing mainly on agriculture. When I realized this, I began to appreciate the opportunities I have been given in life to explore and try new things. The former slaves on Cumberland Island only knew Cumberland Island, nothing else. Me on the other hand, I have opportunities to my left and right every second of the day. Now, I can either choose to take advantage of those opportunities, which I usually do, or just let them pass me by. I realized that people should take every opportunity he or she is presented with if given the chance, myself included.

Analysis: The Land and Legacies Tour is crucial to Cumberland Island because the tour allows visitors to see and learn about the people and culture of the island from roughly 1865 to 1920. The passengers of the tour get to see how the former slaves lived and made a living on the island. The passengers also get to see how the Carnegie’s used and built Cumberland Island to their liking. The tour also gives visitors of Cumberland Island a perfect view of the wilderness area. While on the tour, passengers see and learn about the people, their culture, and the environment of Cumberland Island. Without the tour, visitors may not have the chance to experience the north end of the island, which is vital to explaining the role of the black community on Cumberland Island. Overall, the tour is a perfect way to display Cumberland Island’s environment, people, and the culture those people developed on the island.

Kayaking the Altamaha River: Day 13

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Kayaking the Altamaha River

Description: On the group’s eighth full day on St. Simons Island, we drove to Darien, Georgia to kayak sixteen miles on the Altamaha River. Kayaking sixteen miles on the Altamaha in six hours in one day was a greater distance than the group’s first kayaking trip on Little Tybee Island where we kayaked fourteen miles in three days. Kayaking the Altamaha River was a calm and peaceful trip excluding the last half mile or so. For the first fifteen and a half miles, the group flowed with the river and the outgoing tide but for the last half mile, the group faced a strong headwind. The headwind forced the group to use their strength and kayak the final stretch. We saw many different stretches of the river. We saw the tight and narrow swampy area, the wide large open area, and a narrow, man-made channel called Rifles Cut. Rifles Cut got that name because of how straight the channel is.

Reflection: What I learned while kayaking on the Altamaha River was that my first kayaking experience during the May semester prepared for my second kayaking experience. While the Altamaha kayaking trip was a greater distance in a shorter amount of time, the trip was easier because I had great practice days before when kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean. Kayaking uses a person’s arms, upper and lower back, and abdominal muscles to paddle and get the kayak to move. While kayaking, one needs a lot of endurance, stamina, and strength and I discovered that I had more of all three after kayaking the Altamaha River. Just before we departed, I felt like I was not going to be able to stick with the group and push myself all the way through, but I did and I am extremely proud of myself for doing so.

Analysis: While kayaking the Altamaha River, the group got to see many of the features the river provides for the locals and natives surrounding the Altamaha. The group saw how the Altamaha provides recreation, food, and water for its residents. Recreation was seen by all the boats on the river either fishing or just relaxing or kayaking like we were. Food was seen because the river is full of fish for the locals to catch and eat. Water was seen because the Altamaha River provides water for the locals to drink after it has been purified. The Altamaha River is key to its surrounding inhabitants because the river is a gateway to the Ocean as well as a place where businesses can thrive for the community. Overall, the Altamaha River is key for the locals and natives surrounding and depending on the resources and features it provides them.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jekyll Island Club: Day 12

Jekyll Island Club Hotel
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Jekyll Island Club

Description: The Jekyll Island Club began in 1886 and ended in 1942.  The club was for exclusive and rich members only. If you had the money to afford a membership, you were one of the wealthiest people in America at the time. The club consisted of members like William Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller's brother, JP Morgan, and “The Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt. The club was used as a vacation home during the winter months for most of its members. The members could either have a cottage on the island or stay at the club hotel. When I say cottage, I don’t mean a two bedroom one bath house like people in the mountains. I mean a multi-million dollar home that has numerous rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and sometimes multiple kitchens. Also, each member had at least two hundred servants at his or her beck and call during anytime of the day.

Reflection: I found Millionaire’s Village to be a prideful and stupid way to spend one’s money. Being rich is not a sin but using your wealth to elevate yourself is a sin. I do not want to be remembered for how much money and earthly possessions I had or didn’t have in life, I want to be remembered as a man after God’s own heart just like King David. Now, I know those men and women earned their money and I will as well but being prideful with my money is no way I want to live my life. I do want to be wealthy and financially stable for the rest of my life one day but I want to achieve this goal in a humble manor. Humility is a lost art in American society today but humility is a great attribute to your character if you possess it and one day I hope I do possess humility.

Analysis: The Jekyll Island Club was key to helping America in numerous ways. The members supported presidential candidates financially and some candidates like President McKinley were elected. The members also supported both World Wars financially. Without the Jekyll Island Club members, which contained about 1/6 of the world’s money, support, President McKinley might never have been elected President of the United States and America might not exist today because we could have lost either world war without their support. However, with all the good that the club members did, the club ended in 1942. The reasons being is that many supported the war effort and couldn’t afford the club fees, the stock market crash hurt most if not all of the members and the Georgia governor in 1942 promised to make Jekyll Island a state park if he was elected. Well, that governor did just that and Jekyll Island Club was no more. Overall, Jekyll Island Club was and still is a perfect example of the division of wealth in America because only the rich could afford luxury while the poor were scavenging and struggling to find food to survive.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Georgia DNR: Department of Natural Resources: Day 11

R/V Anna: the shrimp boat we went on.
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The Georgia DNR: Department of Natural Resources

Description: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources protects and studies the ecology and resources of the Georgia Barrier Islands as well as the mainland. The group got to take a boat ride from the Brunswick, GA port out to the sea to do a testing drag. A drag is a technique fishermen or fisherwomen use to catch shrimp by disrupting the dirt on the bottom of the ocean and dragging a net to catch the shrimp that come out of the dirt due to the disruption. When the net came up, the group got to see multiple shrimp as well as fish, crabs, a squid, a shark, and a couple of stingrays. While throwing the fish back into the water, two bottlenose dolphins followed the boat as well as a humongous group of scavenging seagulls.

Reflection: Being the captain of a shrimp boat or any boat takes a lot of practice hours as well as a lot of knowledge about the parts of a boat and how the water and boat work together. If I was a captain of a shrimp boat, I would not be a captain for very long because I know very little about boats and very little about the water and where to fish. However, I do have a tremendous amount of respect for shrimp boat captains because they practice and study for years about boats, shrimp, fishing, the waters, and proper technique. Now, no boat would run smoothly without good deckhands. Deckhands do all the dirty work while the captain sits nice and pretty. The deckhands are the true sailors when it comes to fishing. They cast the nets, sort the catch, clean the boat, and do whatever other dirty work needs to be done to keep the boat running efficiently and effectively. I do know that I would much rather be a shrimp boat captain than a shrimp boat deckhand.

Analysis: The importance of the trip was the catch that the group got was a sample test that tested for the shrimp in the coastal waters. The DNR agent that got us the shrimp boat trip was Paul. Paul gave us a plethora of knowledge about the importance of shrimping to the coast of Georgia as well as the importance of the salt water marshes in Georgia. Paul informed the group what types of fish and other sea creatures we caught besides shrimp. People like Paul are essential to helping sustain and preserve the shrimping industry. The agency that Paul works for enforces laws, provides guidelines for fishers to follow, and keep shrimping a possible job opportunity for future generations. The DNR really does want to keep the coastal waters of Georgia a place where people can make a living by what they catch. Overall, the DNR is a terrific agency when it comes to sustain and preserving Georgia’s coast as well as the shrimping industry in Georgia.

Biking St. Simons Part 2: Day 10

Major William Page's Headstone

Major William Page's Grave site
Monument remembering Major Page's service

Another monument remembering Major Page's service

Biking St. Simons Part 2

Description: On the groups fifth full day on St. Simons Island, the group took their second biking tour of the island; however, this biking tour was of the northern part of the island. We saw sites such as Fort Frederica, Christ Church, and a park on the island that use to be the home of a Native American tribe hundreds of years ago. Now, the group had seen Fort Frederica and Christ Church before but the group only got to see the sites from the bus. This time, we got to tour and explore both Christ Church and Fort Frederica. What captivated my eye the most was a flag and tombstone in the cemetery at Christ Church. The grave I saw had an American Flag, revolutionary era flag, so I went over and explored the grave and discovered the man’s name is William Page. Page became a Major after the Revolutionary War.

Reflection: William Page entered the Revolutionary War in 1780 when he was only sixteen years old ( I am eighteen now and will be nineteen in July, but even being older than Page, I do not believe I would have had the courage to enter a war and definitely not at the age of sixteen. Page showed a lot of courage and bravery by stepping into the Continental Army and stepping up to the British. If the British would have won, Page could have been enslaved, imprisoned, or worse, killed. Page was rebelling against his government but luckily for him and many others, George Washington and the Continental Army defeated the British Redcoats and gained their freedom. I am so thankful for men like Major William Page because he sacrificed everything and he even went against his father, a British loyalist, to fight for a cause he believed in wholeheartedly.  I wish I could have had the courage that Major William Page had during the Revolutionary War.

Analysis: Major William Page is important to American history because he helped win our freedom from the British. Even though Major Page had a minor role during the war, fighting for a great cause, in his mind at least, was a big enough role for him. Not only did Major Page fight in the Revolutionary War, he also owned the Retreat Plantation on St. Simons Island. The plantation became one of the largest in Georgia exceeding 2,000 acres and having over 300 slaves. Major Page is one of the unsung heroes in early American history and I am glad that I have had the pleasure and ability to research him and his life. If men today had courage like Major Page did, this world would be a lot better place. Overall, we as Americans should thank Major William Page for what he sacrificed and did for this country and its people.

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R.J. Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island: Day 9

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R.J. Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island

Description: Sapelo Island is one of the many barrier islands on the coast of Georgia. However, Sapelo Island is different than every other island because of the Gullah-Geechee community present on the island at Hog Hammock and the island was owned by three rich figures in history. The island was first owned by Thomas Spalding, the man who started a plantation on the island and got the ancestors of the current Gullah-Geechee community on Sapelo. The second owner was Howard Coffin, who developed the rich and wealthy Sea Island. The last owner was R.J. Reynolds, the heir to the tobacco industry in Winston-Salem. There is a gorgeous mansion on the south end of the island built by Thomas Spalding. "Spalding built a palatial home to withstand hurricanes and the test of time" (Darien brochure.) The outside of the mansion is beautiful but unfortunately, we couldn't see the inside.

Reflection: Besides the gorgeous mansion, most of the houses on Sapelo Island belong to either low or lower middle class families. The population of Hog Hammock is only seventy people and seeing their tiny community was bittersweet to me. The reason being is because I love the laid back and relaxed feel of Hog Hammock but I also do not want to live a life where I am struggling everyday financially to provide for my family. Seeing Hog Hammock proved to myself that I do not want my family or myself to ever have to worry about money but I also want to live in a community that is relaxed and laid back such as Hog Hammock. And even though I do not want to live in a place like Hog Hammock, I respect the citizens because they are trying to preserve their heritage and history by living in the same place and living a simple lifestyle based off of religion just like previous generations before them. I do not want to be prideful and use my wealth that God has blessed me on material things such as the Mansion. Even if that Mansion is gorgeous, I do not want to be remembered for my materialistic things but my faith in God.

Analysis: The Mansion is important to the history of Sapelo Island because the Mansion was the centerpiece of the island after the plantations on the island went away. Throughout the islands history, three separate United States Presidents have visited the Mansion and they are: Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, and Jimmy Carter. R.J. Reynolds used the Mansion as a vacation spot and he later decided to give Georgia University some land and buildings near the Mansion where students could live and study marine biology. The University of Georgia still uses those same buildings to allow undergraduate and graduate students to study marine biology. The Mansion is the focal point of the island outside Hog Hammock and without the Mansion, Sapelo Island may not be as much of a tourist destination as it is today. Overall, the Mansion is a gorgeous structure that has had famous people walk it is halls but the Mansion has also brought Sapelo Island tourist and money to help the island financially.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Military use of St. Simons Island during WWII: Day 8

The King and Prince Hotel and Resort
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Military use of St. Simons Island during WWII

Description: The airport is used for bush planes and private airplanes and could never be used for commercial planes used by United Airlines and such. The King and Prince Resort is a beautiful public hotel that any civilian can stay at if they want to pay the money. The King and Prince was built to rival the wealthy Sea Island that was just off of St. Simons. The King and Prince got its name because the two men that funded and owned the hotel were nicknamed the king and prince. Both facilities returned to recreational use after the war.

Reflection: I have biked past both the airport and the King and Prince Hotel and resort. The airport is on the south end of the island in between the east and west sides of the island. The King and Prince Hotel is also on the south side of the island but is on the beach on the east side of the island. One day, I would love to have a plane stationed at the airport on St. Simons Island as well as a house on the island; however, that day is all but a dream. I learned that even though you may own something privately, such as the King and Prince Hotel and resort, the government can use your facilities and property when needed during a time of war. The citizens of St. Simons Island are lucky that the government used these two facilities to protect them but I explain why a little further down.

Analysis: World War Two or WWII for short began in 1941 and ended in 1945. The United States did not get involved until after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 by the Japanese. Two main structures on St. Simons Island were used for the United States Military during WWII. The first structure was the airport on the island. The airport was used for small planes in the U.S. Air Force as a landing strip, a fueling station, and an air base. The second structure used during the war was the King and Prince Resort. The King and Prince Resort was a fairly new hotel (less than ten years old) used as a radar base for the United States military. As well as a radar base, the resort was used to house and feed soldiers stationed on St. Simons Island. The radar base and airport were used mainly to locate and destroy German submarines off the east coast of the United States. The usage of these two facilities worked because there was at least one documented sinking of a German submarine that Ms. Edith Smoak told our group during the bus tour she gave us. These two facilities protected the Georgia coastline effectively and efficiently. Overall, these two sites have both civilian and military history in their records.

Ms. Edith Smoak: National Teacher of the Year Tour: Day 7

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Ms. Edith Smoak: National Teacher of the Year Tour

Description: One of Prof. Deal's former high school teachers, Ms. Edith Smoak, who was a national teacher of the year in the 1970's, gave us a tour on St. Simons Island, both the north and south end of the island. The tour took place while the group was on Dr. Deal’s home church bus. Ms. Smoak took us to Christ Church, Fort Frederica, and Sea Island just to name a few. However, while those three sites were fascinating, I was most fascinated by the site of the battle of Bloody Marsh. We drove to where the battle took place and saw the marsh through the bus windows. The marsh looks like any other salt marsh in the state of Georgia.

Reflection: When I saw the marsh, I understood why James Oglethorpe, along with his men in the 42nd Regiment, local Native Americans and with help from Scottish Highlanders that resided in the English colony of Georgia defeated the Spanish militia from Florida. Oglethorpe wanted to ambush the oncoming Spanish who wanted to take Fort Frederica. Oglethorpe’s men ambushed the Spanish militia and after about an hour of musket fire by both sides through a cloud of smoke, the Spanish retreated and they never bothered Georgia or its residents again.  If I was a solider fighting for the Georgia cause knowing that my commander, James Oglethorpe left me along with my peers, I do not think I would have been able to fight. Some of the soldiers did run but one of Oglethorpe’s lieutenants took command and led the Georgians to victory. I could never have been as brave as the soldiers that stayed and fought for freedom but I am really glad that those soldiers were that brave because if they weren't, we might be speaking Spanish in Georgia instead of English.

Analysis: Without the courage and superb fighting ability of the 42nd Regiment, local Native Americans around Fort Frederica, and the Scottish Highlanders just to the North, Georgia might have been taken over by the Spanish. If the Spanish would have successfully taken over Georgia, Georgians would be Spanish and not English. The marsh is called Bloody Marsh because the colonial soldiers said that the marsh waters ran red with Spanish blood. Now, historians say that might be a myth because only twelve Spaniards and one of Oglethorpe’s men died during the battle while many others were wounded. Since there was minimal blood lost during the battle, not enough blood would have been spilled, literally, to cover the salt marsh read with blood. Overall, the battle site of Bloody Marsh is key to not only to the now state of Georgia, but also to the early United States of America because it allowed Georgia and its citizens to fight for the colonists warring against the British in the Revolutionary War.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Biking St. Simons Part 1: Day 6

The Maritime Museum on St. Simons Island

My RIDE!!!!

Biking St. Simons Part 1

Description: On first, full day on St. Simons Island in Georgia, our professor, Dr. Claire Deal, took the group on a biking tour of the south end of the island. We saw the St. Simons Lighthouse and Museum, the Maritime Museum (which I will explain later in greater detail), and Epworth By The Sea which is a Methodist Conference Center started by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. My favorite site was definitely the Maritime Museum at East Beach. The Maritime Museum was originally a U.S. Coast Guard station when the water was literally ten feet from the door step. However, the beach slowly began to stretch out further and further and the U.S. Coast Guard Station was moved to Brunswick, GA. The Maritime Museum is now a museum, obviously, but the museum not only displays facts and tools used by the U.S. Coast Guard when it was stationed there, it also tells visitors about St. Simons Island’s ecology and archeology discoveries as well.

Reflection: While on this 8 to 10 mile bike ride around the south end of St. Simons Island, I learned that I need to bike more often. First, biking is a great source of exercise for the muscles in your legs. Second, biking is a great opportunity to get some fresh air and have fun at the same time. Third, when biking, which is a lot faster than being on foot, you can go and see site seeing where everyone can go and to places only people on foot or bike can go to. Having a bike while on St. Simons allows me to travel to any of the sites I saw on the bike tour if I want to. I can research and explore those sites more if I choose and having the ability to continue researching or exploring a site after having been there the first time can totally change your entire perspective.

Analysis: The Maritime Museum is important to St. Simons Island because during the station operation days, this station was not only a line of defense for the island, but also the search and rescue team’s home. The search and rescue team is pretty self-explanatory but what they do is they go out to sea and look for lost sailors and boats. The Maritime Museum is also important to the island because it preserves the history of the Coast Guard on St. Simons Island as well as inform tourist and maybe even locals about the ecology of the island. The building that holds the museum is an artifact all its own. If the walls in the Maritime Museum could talk, oh what stories they could tell. Overall, the Maritime Museum is a great tool to display the history of the U.S. Coast Guard on St. Simons Island as well as the ecology that the island displays.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gullah-Geechee Part 1: Day 5 cont.

American flag on display at Pin Point Heritage Museum after years of continuous service. 
Gullah-Geechee Part 1

Description: Pin Point Heritage Museum is just a few miles south of historic Savannah, GA. At Pin Point, a culture, only found in a couple places on the East Coast, lives on the grounds and has for nearly a millennium and a half called the Gullah-Geechee. The Gullah-Geechee is a group of people that can trace their roots back to the Gullah people of East Africa and the language the Gullah people spoke which was called Geechee; so, that’s how you get the term Gullah-Geechee. At Pin Point, the people who lived there worked for A.S. Varn & Son oyster and crab factory to provide for their family. The oysters and crabs came from the Moon River at the edge of Pin Point. Both men and women worked for the A.S. Varn & Son company. The women cleaned and got the meat from the oysters and crabs and the men caught the oysters and crabs.

Reflection: While touring the Pin Point Heritage Museum, I learned that the men and women who worked in the oyster and crab factories were and possibly still are stronger and more determined than I am today. The men and women had no other choice but to work for A.S. Varn & Son unless they chose to go to college after finishing school. Most of the Gullah-Geechee people at Pin Point have lived at Pin Point their entire lives with a few exceptions. For example, Supreme Court Justice Clearance Thomas was born and raised at Pin Point but he decided to attend college and pursue a career as a federal judge. Even though Supreme Court Justice Clearance Thomas is famous and wealthy today, he stated in the video the group saw before the tour that if it wasn't for Pin Point, he wouldn't be where he is today.

Analysis: The Pin Point Heritage Museum is important to the Low country and Sea Islands because the people and culture of the Gullah-Geechee have been preserved due to Pin Point. Without Pin Point, the Gullah-Geechee community south of Savannah, GA may not exist today. Our tour guide told us that Pin Point is one of a few Gullah-Geechee communities that have survived since the American Civil War ended. The culture of Pin Point is unique because the people of Pin Point have their own language that they speak to each other but they also know American English as well. The language that the residents of Pin Point speak is Gullah which is a derivative of English but incorporates different pronunciations and sounds for certain words. Because of Pin Point Heritage Museum, the preservation of one of the few Gullah-Geechee communities is possible. The museum is a perfect tool to display and teach people like our group about the Gullah-Geechee community, their culture, and their rich history. Overall, if you ever want to learn about the Gullah-Geechee community in the Low Country and Sea Islands, Pin Point Heritage Museum is the place you have to go.

Monday, May 26, 2014

We Thought The Movie Would Flop: Day 5

Forrest Gump bench
Restaurant where Jenny worked
We Thought The Movie Would Flop

Description: While in Savannah, GA on May 23rd, 2014, the group walked around Savannah on his or her own looking for a site or topic to write about. While I walked around on my own, I visited the St. John the Baptist Cathedral as well as sites present in the Forrest Gump film. I decided to look and research how the movie Forrest Gump, starring Tom Hanks, effected the city with the increase of tourists wanting to see the various movie sites in the film as well as economic growth. I visited places such as the park bench where Forrest told his life story to anyone who would listen, the museum where the bench is at now, and Debbie’s Restaurant where Jenny worked. While at the three various sites, I took multiple pictures and just enjoyed the moment of being in the presence of Hollywood history.

Reflection: Having the ability to see historic Hollywood sites in Savannah, GA was amazing. I love the movie Forrest Gump and being able to see, sit, and take a picture where the movie is based around was fantastic. However, my enthusiasm for the movie as a tourist was completely different than Ms. Maggie, a local who is the owner of Debbie’s Restaurant. Maggie stated that “We here at the restaurant thought the movie would be a flop so we did not keep much memorabilia or keep in contact with Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) and Robin Wright (Jenny Curran/Gump).” I asked Ms. Maggie why she said that and she said “A lot of movies have been filmed in Savannah and most have flopped; so, we here at the restaurant thought Forrest Gump would flop as well.”  Knowing that a local of Savannah, who happens to be the owner of a restaurant filmed in the movie, thought the movie would fail was shocking because as most people who have seen the film, the viewer’s know that the film succeed quite well.

Analysis: Knowing Ms. Maggie’s original view about the film, Forrest Gump, I asked her what she thought since her original opinion was wrong. Ms. Maggie told me “I don’t really give a [crap] because the movie has brought me so much business because people want to be able to say ‘I ate at the restaurant where Jenny worked.’” The movie is a true American film because the film follows the life of a true American even though the story is fictional. The film has also helped bring tourism to the city of Savannah because tourist want to eat at Jenny’s restaurant and go to the museum and pay to see the bench used in the film. Forrest Gump helped grow the already growing tourism of Savannah because of the movies link to Hollywood and famous actor, Tom Hanks. The film succeed just like Savannah’s historical district is succeeding in bringing revenue and tourism to the gorgeous city of Savannah, GA. Overall, Savannah’s historical district was elevated by the success and popularity of Forrest Gump.

Protecting Wassaw Since 1898: Days 2-4

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Protecting Wassaw Since 1898

Description: On our second day during May Term, the group went to Sea Kayak Georgia. Once the group got kayaks, we kayaked through Jack’s Cut (a marshy area) and headed towards the Atlantic Ocean. Once the group got to Beach Hammock, we set up our tents where we would camp for the next two days. On the second day, the group kayaked to Wassaw Island (a national wildlife refuge) which was two miles from our campsite. Marsha, our kayak guide, gave us a tour of the island and gave us a history lesson on the old Coast Guard base that was stationed on the island. Once the group got back to Beach Hammock, we witnessed Horseshoe Crabs mating on the beach. We stayed two nights on Little Tybee Island and once we got back to Tybee Island, the group had kayaked a total of about twenty miles.

Reflection: When I first learned that we were kayaking, I thought the trip would be easy and the first eight mile trek was easy for most of the trip. However, the trip did tire me out because all my energy was gone with the lack of experience. The second day was by far the most difficult day of kayaking because the group had to kayak across open waters in the Wassaw Sound shipping lane along with the extremely choppy waves. Two of the group members, Ryan and Graves, flipped out of their kayaks. Graves flipped out multiple times but finally made it to the island with the help of Dr. Deal and Marsha. The tour of Wassaw Island and the history lesson really enthralled me. I loved the history of the old Coast Guard base and I decided I am going to make my first speech about the history of the station. On the way back to Beach Hammock however, I flipped out of my kayak but was close enough to the shore that I did not panic. I learned that Mother Nature can, and does, display her dominance in nature.

Analysis: The history lesson about the Coast Guard station that Marsha gave the group really interested me because the station on Wassaw Island was key to protecting the Georgia coast during the Spanish-American War. The Coast Guard station at the north end of Wassaw Island was built in 1898 by civilians under the command of Second Lieutenant Henry Sims Morgan of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and named Fort Morgan in his honor. The fort was the largest fortification built in Georgia specifically for the Spanish-American War. Fort Morgan is one of two buildings built on Wassaw Island since colonial times; however, the fort is now threatened by erosion and the high tides of Georgia (Sherpa Guides.) Overall, Fort Morgan really intrigued me when Marsha gave the group the brief lesson about the fort and I will continue to study and research more of the forts importance to the coast line of Georgia.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Old Savannah Trolley Tours: Day 1

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Old Savannah Trolley Tours

Description: On the group’s first day in Savannah, GA, we went on a trolley tour of the city, looking and sightseeing the 2.2 square mile historic district that the city has to offer its residents and tourists. We saw places such as the Savannah River, the bench in the square where Tom Hanks sat waiting for the bus and telling his story to anyone who would listen in Forrest Gump, and Paula Dean’s restaurant “The Lady & Sons.” The trolley tour lasted about an hour and a half and our guide was very energetic and enthusiastic about his job even though he was not a native of Savannah, GA.

Reflection: The Old Savannah Trolley Tour gave me great information and facts about Savannah, GA, a city that I had never been to until this trip. As I listened to how the historic district of Savannah is run and maintained I learned just how much this city cares about preserving its history for future generations. Because I am a history major, I was enthralled by how this trolley tour really brought to life how historic places can still be living and breathing even though the historic people, such as James Oglethorpe (the founder of the original Georgia colony), are not alive. What I learned about myself while listening to our tour guide tell us all the neat features of historic Savannah, GA was that my love for history is stronger now than it has ever been before. Studying history excites me just like a parent is excited when a child goes to his or her first day of school. The trolley tour is a definite must for any tourist who comes to Savannah.

Analysis: The Old Savannah Trolley Tours are a fantastic way to display and present the historic sense of Savannah. The trolley tours give the passengers not only information about the historic district of Savannah but also a view of the beautiful city as well. Not only do you get to see the history of Savannah while on the trolley tour, you also get to see the people of Savannah. The people of Savannah, GA come from all walks of life. The range of people goes from grade school children to college students at the Savannah College of Art and Design to the older generations that have lived in Savannah their entire lives. The culture of Savannah is also vivid while riding on the trolley tours. Any passenger can tell that the culture of Savannah is a very typical southern city. The sense and feeling of the city is a laid-back feel where people come and go as they please but the natives and locals also have manners just like the actors that play southern characters in Hollywood. Overall, Savannah, GA is a marvelous city and the best way to see the town is by the Old Savannah Trolley Tours.