Georgia Network of African American Museums (GNAAM)






In 2015, Dr. Deborah Johnson-Simon, CFSAADMC Founder and CEO, and Mrs. Jacqueline Manning Spears, retired military and founding director of the Thankful Missionary Baptist Church Black Heritage Museum and Archives, in Decatur, Georgia, came together to create the Georgia Network of African American Museums (GNAAM). Research revisited from Dr. Johnson-Simon’s dissertation on “the Evolving Role of Florida Black Museums”, and specifically the Florida Network of African American Museums (FAAPHN) affiliated with the Riley House Museum in Tallahassee, Florida, provided a successful model for a new CFSAADMC initiative. The Center along with Ms. Jeanne Cyiaque of the Georgia African American Historic Preservation Network (GAAHPN) were invited to partner in the 2014-2015 Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant application submitted by FAAPHN to see if the Florida model would be successful in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Our Goal

To be the premier center to experience the Georgia Black Museum Family and learn about the way we can Pull Together to Survive and Thrive by:

  • Researching the history of the Georgia Black museum movement.
  • Educating ourselves about the benefits that are derived from being a network/family.
  • Researching the communities that we are there to serve and being dedicated to providing for the quality of life the Black museums can bring to communities.
  • Submitting to the professional training that’s necessary for survival and being able to pass on the best skills to the next generation of Black museums practitioners.

Strategic Planning Areas

Strategic planning areas of GNNAM include research and development, education, community outreach, and professional development. With in these focus areas we are committed to:

  • Identifying Georgia Black museums past and present as well as funding patterns.
  • Seeking ways to educate Black museum practitioners in Georgia about the benefits of the network and how they can become part of GNAAM.
  • Conducting audience research in Georgia communities served by member museums for understanding how to attract and maintain community support.
  • Providing professional training for museum governances management.



rmg-civil-rights       beach-institute    Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum                            The Beach Institute   


King Tisdell Cottage

The Beach Institute, Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum and the King Tisdell Cottage represent three of the Black museums with in Chatham County Georgia established by Westley Wallace Law (1923-2002), President of the NAACP Savannah Branch (1950-1976), local historian, and preservationist. W.W. Law Founded and served as President of the Savannah- Yamacraw Branch of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) at which time the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, The Beach Institute, and King Tisdell Cottage were founded. 

Source: New Georgia Encyclopedia, W.W. Law (1923- 2002)


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