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Friday, May 10, 2013 - 11:59am

History Connects On Savannah's Southside

Three Savannah non-profits are joining forces to promote heritage tourism in an off-the-beaten-path part of Chatham County.

The Pin Point Heritage Museum, Bethesda Academy and Ossabaw Island Foundation announced a partnership on Friday to share expertise and resources.

The effort comes a year after both the Bethesda and Pin Point groups opened new museums near each other on Savannah's marshy Southside.

Ossabaw Island is directly east and connects to both groups through the historic African-American community of Pin Point.

Beginning in the 1760's, the island was the home of African-American slaves who forged a tight-knit cultural and social community on four cotton plantations.

After the Civil War, they found a footing as tenant farmers.

Displaced by hurricanes in the 1890's, they created their own community of crabbers and oystermen on the mainland, at Pin Point.

Nearby, Bethesda Academy began in Colonial times as an orphanage supported by enslaved people.

During the 20th century, the people of Pin Point have been instrumental in the operation of what has now become a school preparing a diverse student body for college and beyond.

Savannah civic and tourism officials were present at the announcement, highlighting the potential for tourism that they hold in the new museums.

Tourists rarely visit this part of town, about 15 minutes by car from the city's famed Historic District, despite its history and idyllic rural setting.