Telfair Museums Juneteenth Lecture Explores Savannah’s Connection to the Caribbean

As part of Telfair Museums’ annual celebration of Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, a special lecture recounting the fascinating story of Reverend George Liele will kick off this year’s programming at the Jepson Center on June 8.


Reverend Liele, a local African American preacher who was born enslaved and later became a pastor, founded the First Bryan Baptist Church in Savannah in 1873; his teachings formed the basis of the Rastafari faith after he immigrated to the Caribbean. Jamaica-based scholar and lawyer, Miguel A. Lorne will tell this story that connects our community to Jamaica in the lecture “The Journey of Rev. George Liele: From Savannah Baptist to Rastafari.” The lecture begins at 6pm and is free and open to the public.


As well as being a lawyer, Miguel Lorne is a radio broadcaster, former president of the Marcus Garvey People’s Political Party and founder of Jamaica’s only black-owned bookstore. Lorne is the first international speaker to deliver a lecture for Juneteenth programming at Telfair.


Telfair will also hold its popular Juneteenth Free Family Day on June 10. A presentation of culture, storytelling and dance will take place at the Jepson Center, from 1-4pm, with artist demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages. This year’s event includes performances from the Abeni Cultural Arts Performing Dance Studio and one of Savannah’s most noted choirs, the Men of St. John “The Mighty Fortress.”

2017 marks the eleventh year of Juneteenth celebrations at Telfair Museums. It is one of the museum’s biggest events, with hundreds of people attending each year to celebrate and learn more about this unique part of Savannah’s history.

Sponsorship is provided by the Georgia Power Foundation and the City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs.

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About Telfair Museums:

Opened in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District. The museum encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for theArts, the Owens-Thomas House, and the Telfair Academy. For more information, call912-790-8800 or visit