“Wade in the Water II”
Medium: Oil on canvas
Member: K. Liles
An Aquarian, I grew up dreaming of life on the coast. Any coast! I found my spot 20 years ago, Tybee Island, Georgia. There I learned it’s painful history.
Tybee Island, aka Savannah Beach, has a dark history dating back to the early years of slave trade from Africa to the Savannah port. The voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from West Africa to Savannah lasted between four and six months. The duration of the voyage combined with the prolonged confinement of slaves increased the occurrence of infectious diseases. To prevent the spread of disease in Savannah, city officials in 1767 authorized the construction of a nine-story quarantine facility, a lazaretto(Italian for “pest house”),
on the west end of Tybee Island. Before entering the Savannah port, slaves brought directly from West Africa remained quarantined at Lazaretto, where a physician who determined if they harbored infectious diseases inspected them. Diseased slaves remained at the facility. Slaves who died from disease were buried on the west end of Tybee Island.