Tybee Island in Chatham County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
Tybee Island Wade-Ins
“If these youngsters can sit in, wade in, and kneel in, all Negroes can stay off Broughton Street. Why should we buy segregation?”
Because of potentially explosive racial tensions and anticipated large numbers of protesters, the Tybee prison camp located near the present-day police station had been reopened.
The success of the peaceful protests helped to convince Savannah community leaders to gather at the negotiating table to end segregation.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commented that Savannah was “the most desegregated city south of the Mason-Dixon line.” When the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, Savannah Beach had been integrated for 8 months.
The wade-ins, in conjunction with sit-ins, kneel-ins, and boycotts of Savannah businesses, eventually granted African-Americans equal access to public recreational facilities.
In spite of this, racial tension remains over
On June 19, 2015, the Tybee MLK Human Rights Organization began an annual Juneteenth celebration to observe both the historic Tybee wade-ins and the first Juneteenth, June 19, 1865. It occurred in Galveston, TX, where the last remaining enslaved African-Americans in the United States finally learned from Federal Troops that they had been freed two years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation.
In July of 2020, more than half a century after the wade-ins and 133 years after the city's founding, Tybee City Council recognized the need to acknowledge Tybee's history of racially discriminatory practices and approved a Resolution Promoting Justice and Equality. Among other directives, the resolution established June 19, Juneteenth, as an annual City holiday.
Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water.
God's gonna trouble the water
Negro Spiritual (1901)
• (Left) Photo: Vicki L. Hardy, Tybee MLK Human Rights Organization 2019
• (Right) Photo: Vicki L. Hardy, Tybee MLK Human Rights Organization 2020
Erected by Tybee Island Historical Society • Tybee MLK Human Rights Organization
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is July 2, 1964.
Location. 32° 1.296′ N, 80° 50.649′ W. Marker is on Tybee Island, Georgia, in Chatham County. Marker can be reached from Meddin Drive north of Sprucewood Avenue/Gulick Street, on the right when traveling north. Marker is in front of Battery Garland at Fort Screven. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tybee Island GA 31328, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Tybee Island Wade-Ins (here, next to this marker); Henry Sims Morgan (here, next to this marker); Fort Screven (a few steps from this marker); The Loss of the HMS Otranto October 1918 (a few steps from this marker); H.M.S. Otranto and Fort Screven (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Henry Sims Morgan (a few steps from this marker); Tybee Island (within shouting distance of this marker); The Middle Passage and Tybee Island, Georgia (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tybee Island.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 18, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 18, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 137 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 18, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.