It seems only fitting during Black History Month to share one of the places that we went during our stay on Jekyll Island. The Wanderer Memory Trail located at St. Andrews Beach Park is an incredibly moving and sobering exhibit. I must admit that it is not a “feel good” exhibit but it is an important part of history that I was unaware of until I saw this exhibit.
The Wanderer was built as a racing schooner in 1857 but it played a critical part in the horrific and illegal transport of slaves to Georgia. The vessel was sold to William Corrie of Charleston, SC, to be used for the illegal transport of human cargo.
In 1858 the ship traveled to the west coast of Africa, loaded up 490 slaves and eventually landed on the shores of Saint Andrews Sound off Jekyll Island with 409 remaining enslaved Africans who survived the horrific journey and who were sold in America with many going to South Carolina. It was a very profitable, albeit illegal, situation for William Corrie who later re-outfitted the yacht to be his own personal luxury vessel.
The Wanderer changed hands several times after this and attempts were made to continue to use the vessel for illegal slave transport. However, the Civil War broke out and and the Union Army seized the vessel and used it to help supply blockade ships and to dispatching urgent messages. It’s speed was perfect for these purposes. After the war, the Wanderer was briefly used in the West Indian fruit trade until she crashed against the rocks of Cape Maisi in Cuba in 1871 and sank.
The Wanderer Memory Trail is a great educational resource to visit. A short trail through the wooded area provides visitors with a glimpse into the history of the ship, those who were trapped in the belly, chained and starving, and even includes some insight into their lives.
The trail takes you through the story of a young African boy named Umawalla, who was brought to America on the Wanderer. Visitors follow Umwalla’s journey through interactive exhibits on the trail. It is quite moving.
One of the hardest exhibits to view was the depiction of how the slaves were crammed into the vessel – not even fit for the dirtiest of animals let alone humans. How could this happen? It is appalling and yet it is part of our history.
At the end of the trail is this basket (referred to in the video I will share at the end of the post) where people are encouraged to leave messages. Unfortunately it has seen better days and the palm fronds are in a bit of disarray at the moment but it is a moving and emotional thing to see even as it is.
I am glad we were able to take the trail, learn about something that I knew nothing about and be more educated on some of the less than wonderful history of our country. Thank you to those that made this memorial trail possible. It was done beautifully.
Link to Video that shares more about this Memorial trail. https://fb.watch/bmmHnSEevI/
8 CommentsLeave a comment
Even when it’s hard, it’s best to get an education on things we knew nothing about.
Yes— it was an important thing to learn about. I totally agree.
It’s so important to learn about all parts of history and to always remember what came before. Thank you for sharing.
This would be a moving place to visit but necessary. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Thank you! Heartbreaking.
Thank you for sharing this, Beth Ann. It is important for us to see and learn.
As hard as this part of our history is it is important for us to learn about it. Hiding it is not the answer because we never want this to happen again to anyone. Thanks so much for sharing.
Wow. History is so important both good and bad. From the bad we can correct mistakes. Thanks for sharing.