Local organization proposes renaming Talmadge Bridge, asks for community involvement

SAVANNAH, Ga.

Local activism group Span the Gap wants to keep the conversation going about renaming the Talmadge Bridge, but they can’t do it without your help.

Next month, the organization is inviting the community to come together at a public symposium to discuss the idea of renaming the Savannah Landmark.

News 3’s Courtney Cole talked to the spokesperson who says this event is all about raising awareness.

Thousands of people use the Talmadge Bridge to commute between Georgia and South Carolina. While it connects the two states, it also has a connection to a part of Georgia’s history some don’t think is worth honoring.

The bridge is named after former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge.

Now a local group of artists and activists called Span the Gap are speaking up.

“When you learn about Eugene Talmadge, you know that he is an admitted, vowed racist, segregationist, very active during the 1940’s in denying equal rights for African-Americans in particular,” said Ron Christopher, the spokesperson for Span the Gap.

Christopher says the organization is working with The Beach Institute to host a public forum in the next few weeks to discuss the idea of renaming the bridge.

“We’ve been working on this for a while. It started as an artistic projected and metamorphosed into, ‘something has to be done’.”

But before learning more about the meeting, we spoke to some locals to find out how they felt about the proposed change. There was a mixture of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.

Span the Gap says they’re not trying to change history by changing the name of the bridge, they simply want to start a new chapter.

“I think this issue has kind of been vexing Savannahians for a long time…but usually those discussions have been held in private,” Christopher told News 3.

Christopher said this matter has taken on a greater sense of urgency following the events in Charlottesville.

“We don’t want to see violence…we don’t want to see people being anything other than civil with each other…certainly during the symposium. This is something we’d like to address as adults and ultimately move the city forward.”

Christopher says the key to making sure this the bridge gets a new name is to get elected officials motivated at the local level.

Span the Gap says they’re planning to present their findings to Savannah City Council after the meeting in September.

If you’d like to attend the meeting, here are the details:

Renaming the Talmadge Bridge: A free public discussion

WHEN: Tuesday, September 5th

WHERE: Savannah Theater, 222 Bull Street on Chippewa Square

TIME: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

 

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