History, heritage and community will be on display for Pin Point Heritage Museum 10th birthday celebration on Saturday, June 25 from 9am to 4pm on the scenic Moon River at the museum site. The community can come out and participate in activates and enjoy treats as well.
“We are ecstatic to celebrate not only over 100 years of history, but also now ten years of retelling this unique story,” said Pin Point Heritage Museum Site Administrator David Jones. “We would like to thank our neighbors, the community of Pin Point, for allowing us into the community and to share their story.”
The Museum is located in the former AS Varn & Son Oyster and Crab Factory and the historic Gullah-Geechee community of Pin Point was founded in 1896 by freedmen after the Civil War. The area is surrounded by the lovely marshes and creeks of Georgia’s tidewater zone.
“Without an understanding of where people were then, we can’t fully understand how to view it now. When you come out here and go on a tour and watch the film, you learn that there is one series of events, but there’s many perspectives,” said Jones.
The families that founded Pin Point were originally living on Ossabaw and Skidaway Island until a series of hurricanes in the late 1800’s forced them off after destroying homes. In 1896 Henry McAlpin purchased the land (once part of Beaulieu Plantation) and subdivided it to sell as vacation homes to wealthy white Savannahians. As Pin Point was only accessible by a creek, the land there was considered less valuable and McAlpin sold several lots to African Americans.
Hanif Haynes, who served as President of the Pin Point Betterment Association, and is an Ossabaw Foundation Board Member is a direct descendant of one of these families. His great-great grandfather of him was among the first to purchase land there and he was born and raised there. “My family has been there from the beginning,” said Haynes during a tour at Pin Point.
The former factory has been transformed into an educational center for visitors to accurately learn about the Gullah/Geechee culture directly from residents who grew up in the small, close-knit community. For Haynes, who has such a personal connection to the area, this site is his life, history and legacy of him.
“This history is significant. To quote Marcus Garvey, ‘A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots’,” said Haynes.
This area is home to one of the surviving Gullah-Geechee cultures of the Sea Islands region, and its ties to the old seafood and fishing industries upon which many coastal communities have depended for their livings.
“We want people to come out and connect with a coastal community. We are one of the only communities along the coast of Georgia that have not been commercialized and hopefully we can grow but maintain our own identity,” said Haynes.
Haynes has fond memories of the work done from day to day with the fishing and seafood industries as well as just some of the fun times of growing up in Pin Point. In videos during the tour many spoke about the experiences of growing up in Pin Point.
For some apart of these experiences included taking control of the narrative and learning what was used as insults towards Gullah-Geechee could be used to empower.
“To be called a Geechee or salt water Geechee or freshwater Geechee, was an insult because the proper history wasn’t known. The connection to words Gullah and Geechee were not known. Once we know that they were the ones that brought the technology of rice growing and more to coastal Georgia and coastal Carolina and get that deeper history, then that negative component is dashed away or put to the side,” said Haynes.
Pin Point Heritage Museum’s 10th Birthday will include presentations and activities from The Pin Point Betterment Society, Savannah African Art Museum, Ossabaw Island Foundation, and Pin Point Heritage Museum’s Legacy Education Specialists.
“This has been a great journey for Coastal Heritage Society,” says Coastal Heritage Society CEO Sandra Baxter. “One of the best parts has been getting to know members of this amazing community who still live here and make the experience truly authentic.”
Each partner will speak about their connection with the Pin Point community and the Gullah/Geechee culture. Staff and attendees will celebrate with birthday treats at 1pm.
“I’m trying to lay a foundation now so that the community would be better organized and the upcoming younger people will have a vested interest in the rich historical perspective of our community,” said Haynes.
Guests can discover the residents’ unique lifeways, from daily life to religion, language and food. The event will take place at Pin Point Heritage Museum. For more information visit chsgeorgia.org