New Book Explores the History of Savannah State University

SSUBookThe book Tigers in the Tempest: Savannah State University and the Struggle for Civil Rights is the latest in the Mercer University Press series on America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Previous books in the series have documented the histories of Tennessee State University and Spelman College.

Tigers in the Tempest offers readers a well-researched history of Savannah State University from its founding in 1890 as the Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth to the present day. The school opened in Athens but moved to Savannah in 1891. The first college-level degrees were earned in 1898.

One of the more interesting chapters of the book deals with the battle to end Jim Crow segregation in Savannah. Students at Savannah State University played a major role. In 1945, 10 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a White person on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus, students at Savannah State organized a protest against racial segregation on the city’s buses. Later Savannah State students were active in civil rights protests to integrate lunch counters, public schools, and to give voting rights to African Americans.

The book was written by F. Erik Brooks, a professor and chair of the department of African American studies at Western Illinois University in Macomb. From 2002 to 2012, Professor Brooks taught at Georgia Southern University. An earlier book was Pursuing a Promise: A History of African Americans at Georgia Southern University (Mercer University Press, 2006).

Dr. Brooks holds master’s degrees from Troy University, Auburn University, and Alabama State University. He earned a Ph.D. in public policy and administration from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

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