The WW Law Foundation
The WW Law Foundation
The mission of the WW Law Foundation is to establish a research and preservation center where the collection of over 100,000 artifacts of WW Law can be shared with Savannah and abroad. The WW Law foundation and Board of Directors seek to realize this mission by partnering with institutions and individuals with shared understanding of the tremendous value of the collection — institutions and individuals that can take action in realizing the vision.
The WW Law Research and Preservation Center is a vision that grows out of three decades of Law’s historic preservation contributions through Savannah-Yamacraw Branch Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). During his twenty-year tenure as president, ASALH labored to document the rich history of Savannah’s slave descendants, forged the creation of African American historic preservation and established black tourism in the city.
Upon passing on July 29, 2002, WW Law entrusted for the benefit of his beloved Savannah, a voluminous collection to long-time friend and supporter Remer K. Pendergraph. Pendergraph worked and collaborated with W. W. Law in building Savannah’s three landmark African American institutions. As Law’s apprentice, Pendergraph’s vision is to build an institution to celebrate and continue the work of the city’s ultimate institution builder. To this end Pendergraph established the WW Law Foundation.
The WW Law Research and Preservation Center would bring to life an unseen history not yet realized. W.W. Law was aware of the other great institutions devoted to facets of African American life and culture in Savannah. He founded the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, The Beach Institute and the King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation. Below are some of the institutions that would also benefit from the establishment of the W.W. Law Research and Preservation Center:
- The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum focuses on Savannah’s civil rights movement and the many unsung heroes of that period.
- The King Tisdale-Cottage is a house museum that reflects the material culture of turn of the century black middle class Savannah.
- The Beach Institute building was the first school erected to educate Freedmen in the aftermath of the Civil War; today it serves to highlight the artistic, cultural and intellectual expressions of African Americans.
- Savannah State University, an 1890 landgrant institution, has an archive with a focus on its own institutional history and primarily utilized by its students, faculty and researchers.
- The Carnegie branch, created by seven African American men for Savannah’s segregated black community, is reestablishing its African American reference and children’s collection, in addition to assuming the role of technology center for Live Oak Public Libraries.
As the vision for the WW Law Research and Preservation Center is realized, it will be an unparalleled resource and inspiration to Savannah and the United States. W.W. Law worked from the understanding that Savannah was one of the first colonies of the United States and the African American story had be suppressed and marginalized for hundreds of years. The WW Law Foundation collection is WW Law’s response to this 300 years of history; it a collection that documents the life and culture of African American history in one of the first colonies of the United States through art, artifacts, memorabilia, and manuscripts. It is a gift to Savannah and the world, from one of Savannah’s greatest individuals: Westley Wallace Law.