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

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

April 29, 2014

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.

About the College of Continuing and Professional Studies

The College of Continuing and Professional Studies, established in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional students and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program is a transition program for students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students who desire to transition to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, school counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, public safety leadership, nursing preparation, liberal studies, psychology and communication. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Newnan and Eastman. To learn more, visit


Kyle Sears
(478) 301-4037