River Street Memorials

Savannah's River Street Memorials include an African-American Monument, a tribute to a "Waving Girl" and a 1996 Olympic Yachting Cauldron.

African-American Monument

Erected on July 27, 2002, the African-American Monument depicts a family of four embracing after emancipation while chains representing slavery lie at their feet. Standing just behind the Hyatt Hotel on the river walk, this beautiful monument is the first in Savannah to recognize the contributions made by African Americans.

The monument was designed by Savannah College of Art and Design Professor Dorothy Spradley. She was assisted by one of her students, Dan Koster, who built the architectural model for the monument.

The inscription, by poet Maya Angelou, reads:

We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy.

Statue of Florence Martus – The Waving Girl

Florence Martus (1868-1943) become a legend in ports across the world. When she was 19, and her brother worked as the lighthouse keeper on Elba Island, Florence began waving at all the ships entering or leaving the port of Savannah. It is said that for the next 44 years Florence continued to wave by day with a white handkerchief in hand, and at night by the light of a lantern, only to stop in 1931 when her brother retired and moved away. Her story spawned many myths including one popular tale that claimed she was engaged to a sailor, and that she waved at every ship that arrived in hopes of being the first to welcome him home. But alas, he never returned.

The Altrusa Club erected the statue of the Waving Girl to commemorate her friendly vigil. The memorial was sculpted by Felix de Weldon, who sculpted the famous Iwo Jima monument in Washington, D.C.

1996 Olympic Yachting Cauldron

This cauldron was lit by the original Olympic flame from Mt. Olympus at the opening ceremonies on July 20, 1996, and burned throughout the Centennial Olympic Games in Savannah, site of the Olympic Yachting events. Designed by Georgia artist Ivan Bailey, the five fluted columns represent the five Olympic rings, the fluted slice of a classic column symbolizes the Olympic Greek heritage, and the six sails represent the Olympic yachting events.

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River Street Walkway