iGbo landing


”Igbo Landing”

Diana (Dee) Williams

St. Simons island

may 26 -28, 2023

all Events are free. Registration is required

Welcome Statement

We welcome you to the Igbo Landing 220th Commemoration, May 26-28, 2023. In May of 1803 a large group of enslaved Igbo Africans made history by resisting their enslavement in the most dramatic way possible. Inspired by a noble chief among them, they rose up and martyred themselves at Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, chanting ‘The Water brought us here, The Water will take us away’ as they walked down into the river, where they all drowned.

Ever since, Igbo Landing has been a ‘sacred place’ and the story became known all throughout the Gullah Geechee world. The central message: You may enslave my body, but not my mind, not my soul.

We seek to remember and honor these noble ancestors. We also seek to preserve the land itself and memorialize the story by official designation of Igbo Landing as a National Historic Site (or Monument).

We invite you to join with us.

Your Planning Committee

email contact:


3 day commemorative events

May 26

Welcome Day

May 27

Remembrance day

May 28

Giving Thanks Day

On Site Registration

Noon - 5:00 PM

Emmanuel Baptist Church

1047 Demere Rd

St. Simons Island, GA 31522

Line Flower

Guided Tours of Igbo Landing

2:00 - 4:00 PM

Shuttle Bus

Emmanuel Baptist Church

(Pre-Registration Required)

50 visitors maximum

Line Flower

Opening Reception

6:00 - 8:00 PM

Emmanuel Baptist Church

On Site Registration

Continental Breakfast

8:30 AM —

Emmanuel Baptist Church

Line Flower

Igbo Landing 220th


9:30 AM — 2:30 PM

Emmanuel Baptist Church

Line Flower

Symposium Luncheon

12:00 - 12:45 PM

Emmanuel Baptist Church

(Pre-Registration Required)

Line Flower

220th Gathering/Public Blessing

3:00— 5:00 PM

Emmanuel Baptist Church

(Pre-Registration Required)

Worship Service

10:30 AM

First African Baptist Church

5800 Frederica Rd

St Simons Island, GA 31522

(Pre-Registration Required)

Line Flower

Guided Tours of Igbo Landing

2:00 - 4:00 PM

Shuttle Bus

Emmanuel Baptist Church

(Pre-Registration Required)

50 visitors maximum

Line Flower

Closing Reception

6:30— 8:30 PM

Emmanuel Baptist Church

(Pre-Registration Required)

Hotel Accommodations / Travel information

plane travel route Pin on the world map travel travel ideas

Hotel Information

Travel Information

Car Vehicle Ride


Jacksonville International Airport [JAX]

Jacksonville, FL

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport [SAV]

Savannah, GA


Jacksonville, FL – Brunswick, GA

I-95 North

70 miles

1 hour

Savannah – Brunswick

I-95 South

80 miles

1.5 hours

Atlanta – Brunswick

307 miles

4.5 hours

Check-in: Thursday, May 25

Check-out: Monday, May 29

[4 nights max]

[Can reserve for (3) nights within the group bloc, if needed]

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Brunswick I-95, GA

211 Gateway Center Blvd

Brunswick, GA 31525

Brittany Pyne (General Manager)


email: brittany.pyne@aimbridge.com>

The block code is as follows: EBL

Rate: $100.00/night + taxes

Booking deadline: May 15 requested (will hold rooms through May 19)

(25) rooms in group bloc

​(10) single king bed

​(15) two queen beds

hotel reservations website:


Holiday Inn Brunswick I-95 (Exit 38)

138 Glynco Parkway

Brunswick GA 31525

Heather Downs ( CSR & Sales)


The block code is as follows: EBL

Hotel website:


Rate: $135.00/night + taxes

Booking deadline: May 19

(30) rooms in group bloc

​(15) single king bed

​(15) two queen beds

Presenters and Performers

Griffin Lotson

Vice-Chair, GGCHC Commission

Prof. Onwubiko Agozino

Virginia Tech

Amy Lotson Roberts


Eunice Moungin Moore

Queen Mother of Butlers Island

Douglas B. Chambers

Igbo History Foundation LLC

Prof. Nkuzi Michael Nnam

Center for Igbo Studies

Dominican University

Prof. Kyle Fox

College of Coastal Georgia

Rep. Gabe Okoye

Ga. House District 102

Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters

Performing Artists

Victoria Smalls

Executive Director, GGCHC

Phil Morrison


Rep. Rick Townsend

Ga. House District 179


Performing Artists

Rep. Al Williams

Ga. House District 168

The water brought us here,

The water

will take us away

Historical Evidence

Compiled by Douglas B. Chambers, Ph.D.

April 2023

Roswell King to Pierce Butler, 13 May 1803

13th May 1803

Honoured Sir,

I have Recd. yr three letters Dates Chston April 27th May 2 & 3rd & the purport of them

shall be strictly attended to. I am sorry to inform you that I have had a most tedious passage, But

probible found things at home as well as if I had had a good passage. I landed the Negroes all

safe & in good health except one that was sick when I took him on Board with small fevers, he is

recruting—the Day after you left Savannah the Schooner York didnot arive Messrs. M.M & Co.

hired a Schooner & on thursday the wind answered to drop Down & on Saturday I took the

Negroes on Board from Scidway Island it being the 23rd Ult [April] and with all exertions with a

pilot on Board could not make more Speed and on Sunday the 8th Inst [May] at half Ebb got a

ground off Little St Simons near the hallover wind Very heavy E, N, & I landed on the Marsh

and walked home & in the Morning Early I went to Experiment & about 12 o’Clock the

Schooner Came up & anchored about two Cables length of the Shore at £5 Landing I made out to

git on board but the gale begun so severe that it was not prudent to land them untill the Next Day

about 2 o’Clock—the day after which was Wednesday the 10th I carried them up to Tide

Island—& you would have been much gratified to have seen there rejoicing when they found

they could Drink the water out of the River which is a proof that they have been acquainted with

the Same Soil—& hopeful they will be healthy—they Landed very Cheerfull & happy—you

have no people that can talk with them, but they are so smart your Young wenches are

Speculating very high for husbands— [...] Albert & Jessy Ran-away on the 29th Ult [April] Jessy

Caught again 5 days after Near Darien, Albert Cleared himself— [...] Sherman the Machine

Carpenter, has come on. he put his tools on Board the Schooner York which sailed 15 days ago

from Savnh & had not arrived Yesterday so that he has done nothing, he examined the Barn and

says it will answer every purpose, the Mill Stones he approves of, Likewise the Screens &

Situation. [...] I got on your account two hundred Dolls. [dollars] from Messrs MM & Co but

have not Room here to tell you how I spent it.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Butler Family Papers 1447, Series II, Box 2, File 10 (Correspondence May –

Sep 1803) 13 May 1803 (ALS) [NB: Roswell King was the newly hired plantation manager]. True copy, Douglas B.

Chambers (2013)

Mein Mackay & Co. to Pierce Butler, 24 May 1803

Mr King advises his having got safe sound with the Negroes + that they are behaving well. We

have had a great many Ibos + Angolas – all of which have readily sold about ₤100 round for the

prime. Spalding + Couper bo’t a Whole Cargo of Ibos + they have suffered much by Miss

management of Mr Couper’s Overseer Patterson who poor fellow lost his life – The Negroes

rose by being Confined in a small vessell Patterson was frightened + in swimming ashore he

with Two Sailors were drowned. The Negroes took to the Marsh + they have lost at least Ten or

Twelve in recovering them besides being subject to an expense of Ten Dollars a head for

Salvage. our friend Putnam in his Zeal for the Service of the United States boarded the Sloop

your Negroes were sent [ ? ] by + took from Mr King a Bond – for the Consequences on shewing

it however to his Counsellors they satisfyed him that he had not only done wrong but that he was

not otherwise to touch the Property or any Person else unless he took them in the act or had good

proof of their being Importers – so that we bona fide Purchasers on the Terra firma of the U.S.

are at risk as to the extent of the Laws of Congress as well as that of the State of Georgia. We

have got up the Bond + Transmitted same to Mr King.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Butler Family Papers 1447, Series II, Box 6, Folder 27, 24 May 1803 (ALS),

from Savannah [NB: written in the hand of William Mein; Mein & Mackay were a merchant firm based in

Savannah, Georgia]. True copy, Douglas B. Chambers (2013)

Anna Matilda Page King, Retreat Plantation, 1857

“5 th March 1857

...We have had quite an exciting adventure with a great big old hog which Alic Boyd purchased

from Dubignons negro. It got out of the pen—& as the corn is now being planted it could not be

suffered to have the run of the field. Two nights ago he was met in the road—a fine racoon dog

belonging to William put on him—he killed the dog with one of his enormous tusk[s]—poor

William shed tears for his trusty dog. Yesterday Floyd & Cuyler fully armed with pistols &

double barrel guns—with Jimper to assist were out from 10 oclock in the morning until

dark—they took Rock & all the tarriors. They traced the beast from where he had killed

Williams dog—In & out until they reached Ebo landing on the Wrights old place—The best

tarrier we have received I fear a mortal wound—Rock got a bad cut on his leg. I think the boys

fired 16 times into him before he gave up the ghost. He was very fat & the most of the shot took

effect in his sides. They were tired & hungry enough when they got home. If he had not been

killed we would have been constantly fearing he would be in this corn field. Dear Cousin do not

laugh at me for writing the history of a wild hog.”

Anna Matilda Page King, Anna: The Letters of a St. Simons Island Plantation Mistress, 1817-1859. Edited by

Melanie Pavich-Lindsay (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002), pp.326-327. [Reference: Maj. Samuel Wright

farm, ‘Dunbar’, later Abbott farm, modern Glynn Haven subdivision] Emphasis in the original

Lydia Parrish, St. Simons Island [1920s]

“When it comes to terse economy of speech we are obliged to concede that no one can equal the

Negro. Mrs. Annnie Arnold, born on St. Simon’s in 1844, gave me the perfect example of this

fact in recounting a bit of local history. A cargo of slaves of the Ebo tribe had been landed at a

suspiciously secluded spot on the west side of the island. They preferred death to a life of

captivity, and as they walked into the water the leader said: ‘The water brought us here. The

water will take us away’. No one but an African could have expressed such poignant

unhappiness in so few words. In view of the fact known to traders that the Ebo men made poor

slaves and were prone to suicide, the account is probably true. The Negroes believe the story,

and to this day they have to be extremely hungry to fish by themselves at Ebo Landing. One

night a few years ago some colored boys braved tradition, and went ‘possum hunting in the

neighborhood. I have my own ideas as to the real cause of their terrifying experience, but the fact

remains that no others have been tempted to repeat it.”

Lydia Parrish, Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands. Foreword by Art Rosenbaum, Introduction by Olin Downes,

Music transcribed by Creighton Churchill and Robert MacGimsay (1942; repr. Athens: University of Georgia Press,


Floyd White, New Fields, St. Simons Island [1938]

“Heahd bout duh Ibo’s Landing? Das duh place weah dey bring duh Ibos obuh in a slabe ship an

wen dey git yuh, dey ain lak it an so dey all staht singin an dey mahch right down in duh ribbuh

tuh mahch back tuh Africa, but dey ain able tuh get deah. Dey gits drown.”

Georgia Writers’ Project, Work Projects Administration, Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes

(1940; repr. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986), p.185

Harrington Community, St. Simons Island [1980s]

“Afro-American residents of the island’s Harrington community, also as one, give a version of

the drowning story which they assert that they once heard from their ancestors.

  • Long ago, during Slaverytimes,
  • a slaveship
  • holding a large number
  • of Eboes (Igbo) [sic]
  • sailed down Dunbar Creek
  • to a point since known as Ebo Landing.
  • Under the leadership of a chief,
  • the Igbo overcame their Captors,
  • then went ashore, and
  • began to sing: ‘The water brought us and the water will take us back home’.
  • Having chosen death by drowning over life in slavery,
  • they turned and together walked into the creek
  • and drowned.

The Harrington accounts have been consistent except for disagreement over whether the

event took place during daylight or under a moon, whether the Igbo were chained when they

entered the water, and whether there were survivors of the event. References to ‘marsh’ and

‘creek’ were made inter-changeably, and one account had it that the Igbo went backwards into

the water.

All of the Harrington sources stated the belief that their accounts described an actual


H. A. Sieber, The Igbo Stroke of 1803: Rebellion and Freedom March at Ebo Landing (published privately, 1988).

Coastal Georgia Historical Society, St. Simons Island, GA. Ebo Landing Vertical File. True copy, Douglas B.

Chambers, 2013

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