Five children gather in a doorway at one of the four villages on Hobcaw Barony c. 1905. Descendants of slaves continued to live or work on the barony until 1996.
Photo Courtesy of the Belle Baruch Foundation
African American Pathways
In this issue we are commemorating the pathways of African American heritage in SC. How do we tell the deep-rooted stories of our past and the enormous impact it still has on us today, from architecture to cuisine and culture? You probably know our answer. We say TRAVEL.
The African American heritage resources in SC are a very precious thing indeed. Many accounts suggest that 40-60% of African Americans arrived in the US through ports in the SC Lowcountry, and an impressive amount of preserved places tell their stories today.
We've already got you a list started featuring 3 of the many places to travel African American pathways in SC. We also link you to the Jubilee Project, which is committed to furthering education and awareness of African American heritage. Take a look at the brand new SC Vacation Guide and be sure to browse our local events listing for even more travel opportunities.
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Places to Travel
African American Pathways
The plantations on Ashley River Road are a popular travel spot, but they can also be an extremely unique resource and reminder of the hands that built those famous homes and really the foundation of our state as we know it.
Magnolia Plantation has an award winning program that walks you through meticulously preserved slave dwellings, which were inhabited from the 1850s all the way up to the 1990s. Drayton Hall's slave dwellings are long gone, but they have several tours dedicated to enslaved life and the cemetery on-site.The African American Focus Tour at Middleton Place examines home-life at an original dwelling, spirituality at the chapel and cemetery, and labor at the rice mill.
HISTORY TRIVIA: Did you know the owners of all 3 Ashley River plantations and many of their slaves had ties to Barbados? The same is true for many SC plantations, and the cultural ties can still be seen through similar government, architecture, foodways and more. Learn more about the SC-Barbados Connection HERE
Hobcaw Barony is an environmental research facility, which just so happens to be situated on 17,500 acres worth of SC history. Once 14 different rice plantations in the Georgetown area (the third oldest city in SC), Hobcaw's bumpy dirt roads will take you back a few hundred years to four (thats right FOUR) slave villages.
Friendfield Village in particular was occupied until 1952 and has preserved cabins and a church on site. Words can't quite describe this very special place, so catch one of their many tours to see for yourself. While you're there, Brookgreen Gardens and Hopsewee Plantation are nearby places that also have unforgettable African American heritage stories to tell.
Woodburn Plantation (clockwise from top left): 1853 ledger listing crop details and slave listing, gate entering Woodburn, cabin, porch and barn
Built in 1830, Woodburn is an excellent example of an early 1800s plantation house in the Upcountry of South Carolina (originally owned by Charles Pinckney). The former 1,000 acre plantation now offers a tour of the home and family artifacts, a walking trail, a reproduction of the carriage house, an 1810 log house and a reproduction of a slave/tenant house that interprets the life of Jane Edna Hunter, the African-American activist who was born in such a house at Woodburn in 1882. On February 9th, Woodburn celebrates it's African American heritage with re-enactments and demonstrations.
The Jubilee Project
The Jubilee Project celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of public education in South Carolina, and commemorates other key events both of 1863 and of the Civil Rights movement in 1963. Check out the vast resources and events, all focusing on African American heritage here...
The all new official vacation guide from SC Parks, Recreation & Tourism is here! You'll find everything from church steeples to diners and a complete listing of places to go in South Carolina. View it or request it online here...