Montmollin Building


Montmollin Building
Memorialization of Urban Slavery in Southern Coastal Cities


slavery; memorials


The upper floors of the Montmollin Building housed one of the largest slaves operations in Savannah (the third floor was where the slaves were kept); it was run by John Montmollin and Alexander Bryan from the 1850s until December 1864, when Savannah surrendered to the Union. Bryan was the man who organized the infamous sale of 450 slaves, knows as the "Weeping Time." Today there is still no marker indicating the history of the building.
This project was funded by Bernard and Anne Spitzer Travel Fellowship for research projects involving travel abroad and incorporating the study of architecture, landscape architecture, or urbanism.
My goal was to research, witness, and record how each of my chosen Southern port cities has dealt with its past in regards to urban slavery, and to begin making a record of this history. Although all of the locations I visited were major hubs of the American slave trade, these cities remain mostly lacking in admitting their full and complete history. The inaccurate and incomplete narratives, lack of memorials, and white-washed histories designed to appeal to the tourist industry do not tell the stories of the slaves in an unbiased and forthright way. So much of what I witnessed revolved around a very racially divided tourist industry, but I know that change is possible. The story of urban slavery is not just the story of African Americans in the United States, but the story of all of us, and the more we can understand this, the better off we all will be.


Whang, Maura


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Whang, Maura


Architecture and City Planning




Savannah, GA




Whang, Maura, “Montmollin Building,” Spitzer School of Architecture, accessed April 23, 2024,

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