Students from the College of Continuing and Professional Studies to Present Work on the History of African American Education on St. Simons Island


ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Students from Mercer University's College of Continuing and Professional Studies will present digital stories intended to document and preserve accounts of the history of African American education in Coastal Georgia in the Fellowship Hall of St. Paul's Missionary Baptist Church on St. Simons Island this Saturday.

These presentations by students of Dr. Melanie Pavich, assistant professor of interdisciplinary and historical studies, are based on oral histories taken from former students of the Harrington and South End schools that once operated on the island. The work was part of a 16-week research and service-learning course.

“This is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students at Mercer University to participate in documenting and preserving the history of African Americans on the island,” said Dr. Pavich, whose previous work includes an edited volume of letters of Anna Matilda Page King of Retreat Plantation that was published by the University of Georgia Press. King was the daughter of William Page, founder of Retreat Plantation on St. Simons Island, one of the largest plantations in the plantation system of Coastal Georgia.

“Transcripts of the interviews they performed and the digital stories they produced will become part of a larger archive of materials.”

The event, co-sponsored by the St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition, the Coastal Georgia Historical Society and the Friends of Harrington School, will also include a talk by Dr. Ron Butchart, professor of history and education and affiliate faculty in the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Georgia, and will begin at 2 p.m.

Admission is free and open to the public. A suggested $10 donation will go to the Restoration Fund for the historic Harrington School.

This event is the last of three held during the months of April and May involving students from Mercer, UGA and the College of Coastal Georgia and focusing on Gullah Geechee heritage on St. Simons Island.

For more information, visit or call (912) 634-0330.