About Karen Wortham
Karen B. Wortham is one of Savannah’s enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Hearing her tell the story of slavery is like witnessing a volcano waiting to erupt, not violently, but with a burning desire to speak as eloquently as words just flow from her heart. That’s how you would describe Mrs. Wortham’s passion for telling the story.
Born the youngest girl of four children to Herbert Lee and Alma
James, Karen is the product of the Savannah Chatham County Public Schools. She is the mother of three children and a grandmother. When you come to know her,you will soon see that although she speaks what is on her mind, she also has that same burning desire in her heart to help others.
Karen has been employed in Savannah at several businesses, but it wasn’t until she was the office manager and tour director for the Historic First African Baptist Church at Franklin Square that she developed her intensive research skills. She learned the in-depth history of not only the church, but the inhumane struggles of the
Negro in this country. Karen was always an inquisitive child, or just plain nosey as she describes herself. She is a self-taught researcher. This quality manifested itself to research facts to tell a story that was until then, only done by the church tour guides. In 2010, the 30 minute documentary, “Journey By Faith: A Story of First African Baptist Church”, written, narrated and produced by Karen was released. Her second documentary of other lesser known stories of the blithe of the Negro during those turbulent times will be released in the future. In May of 2013 she was part of a collaborative effort to publish a pictorial book of the tour she conducts in and around Savannah, “The Indigo Journey.”
Karen’s voice is heard at the visitor’s center and on the info channel in local hotels inviting guests to First African Baptist Church. Thousands of people from all over the world have come to hear her tell the story. She has not only told the African American story, but inspired thousands of young people of all ages to be the best they can be. She has taken her message to churches, school systems, and college campuses. Ms. Wortham has had the extreme honor to work with a distinguished scholar from Princeton University who was the first Professor of African American Studies at Harvard University. She conducts a workshop for teachers across the country as a part of the University of Connecticut program entitled “Gullah Voices.”
A California couple commented that “Most guides don’t know much information regarding the real south, slaves, and their trials. Now that you have sparked my curiosity, I will start doing more research and reading when I get home.” A student from Shawnee State University in Ohio stated,” You make it so interesting, why can’t you be our instructor.” Visitors have commented after hearing her tour that her presentation was the best thing they had heard during their whole trip to Savannah. Teachers all across Georgia request their tour company to be sure that Ms. Karen will be their guide.
Karen considers herself to be blessed by God to establish her own tour company, Journey By Faith that includes three tours for all ages. The Indigo Journey is a walking tour in and around the Savannah community that inform visitors of the not-so-well known facts of Savannah’s history and its affect on the African American. The Empowerment Tour is especially for students learning about Georgia History. Her Adult Getaway Journey is simply a venue for adults to get away and have some fun without the kids. She once operated a booth, “The Newsstand,” in the River Street Market, but now operates her gift shop in the Old Town Trolley Welcome Center called “Indigo Treasures Gifts and Souvenirs.”. She has been the inspirational speaker for many audiences young and old alike. Karen is continuing the process of exercising her insatiable urge to research more information to expand her story of the African American in Savannah.