View Past Programs

The Coastal Georgia Historical Society invites you to view a variety of our past programs.

Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong

In celebration of Black History Month, the Society presented a virtual program on February 25, on one of America’s most celebrated musicians, Louis Armstrong. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of this iconic artist who is known as the first “King of Pop.” Historian Ricky Riccardi discussed his recently released book, Heart Full of Rhythm, which examines the middle years of Armstrong’s career. He also discussed the trumpeter’s connections to Georgia, including some of his most famous songs, such as “Georgia on My Mind” and “Atlanta Blues.”

A Preview of Charleston’s International African American Museum

On Thursday, January 21, Elijah Heyward III, Ph.D., presented a virtual program entitled A Preview of Charleston’s International African American Museum. Dr. Heyward’s talk is preceded by the Society’s annual business meeting featuring Board President Kevin Lokey and Executive Director Sherri Jones. The International African American Museum (IAAM) will open in Charleston, South Carolina in early 2022, with the mission to “honor the untold stories of the African American journey at one of our country’s most sacred sites,” the former Gadsden Wharf, entry point for over 150,000 enslaved Africans. Dr. Heyward discusses the development and design of the museum, which will incorporate exhibit spaces, a family history center, and a memorial garden. State-of-the-art interactive technology will be used, along with traditional techniques, to tell the stories of the African diaspora and the spread of African culture and influence.

Things New & Strange: A Southerner’s Journey Through the Smithsonian Collections

On Thursday, November 12, at 6 p.m., G. Wayne Clough, Ph.D., presented a virtual program on his book, Things New and Strange: A Southerner’s Journey Through the Smithsonian Collections. While serving as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 2008 to 2014, Dr. Clough undertook a search of the Institution’s vast collections to find artifacts from South Georgia. In his illustrated talk for the Society, he described some of his discoveries, including those related to our coastal region – from the fossil record of now extinct animals to documentation of Gullah Geechee folkways in the early 20th century.

Cumberland Island: Footsteps in Time

On Thursday, October 29, 2020, the Society presented a virtual program featuring author and editor Stephen Doster discussing his new book, Cumberland Island: Footsteps in Time. Doster took us on a chronological journey through the history of the island, outlining the key events and influential inhabitants that have left their mark on Georgia’s southernmost barrier island. The lecture begins with a slideshow of photographer Ben Galland’s images, which illustrate the book and reveal the island’s natural beauty and historic sites.

The Women with Silver Wings

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, the Society presented its first virtual program which featured historian Katherine Landdeck, Ph.D., discussing her new book, The Women with Silver Wings. During World War II, as young men went overseas for combat, American women also sought ways to serve their country. When the U.S Army put out a call for women pilots, 25,000 applications poured in, and over 1,000 women completed the rigorous training to earn their silver wings. This ground-breaking group formed the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP. Though not authorized to serve in combat, they helped train male pilots and ferried every type of military aircraft from factories to bases throughout the country.


Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy

On Sunday, February 16, 2020, bestselling author Donald Miller, Ph.D., returned to present a program on his latest book, Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy. This deeply researched history tells the fascinating story of the longest military campaign of the Civil War, which put the Mississippi River under Union control, split the Confederacy, freed more than 100,000 slaves, and solidified the reputation of General U. S. Grant. Thousands of Georgia troops fought for the Confederacy in this campaign. As Grant wrote in his memoirs, “The fate of the Confederacy was sealed when Vicksburg fell.”


Celebrating Black History

On February 6, 2020, local historian Amy Roberts pulled from her memory – and her new book – to discuss the African American history of our area. Patrick Holladay, co-author of Gullah Geechee Heritage in the Golden Isles, joined Roberts in an engaging conversation about the important cultural experiences they are working to preserve.



Annual Meeting: The Epic Hunt for a Lost World War II Aircraft Carrier

On September 15, 1942, in the South Pacific, three Japanese torpedoes slammed into the US aircraft carrier Wasp, setting off a series of explosions, followed by uncontrollable fires. The ship eventually sank, and almost 200 sailors perished. In 2019, the Research Vessel Petrel located the Wasp, resting at a depth of 13,800 feet in the Coral Sea. British journalist Ed Caesar spent two weeks with the expedition and witnessed the discovery of the Wasp.

Jamil Zainaldin: World War I: Georgia’s Second Great War

On Thursday, November 8, 2018, Jamil Zainaldin, Ph.D., presented a program in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I. Dr. Zainaldin discussed the impact of the conflict on Georgia and examined how the experience of World War I became an occasion for a new creation story that would guide the South, and possibly even the nation, in the new century.