The city of Charleston, in partnership with Charleston County, the Town of Mount Pleasant and the Preservation Society of Charleston, will host a series of public information sessions throughout July and August to provide an overview of the Gullah Geechee Heritage Preservation Project, a 2-year initiative supporting the documentation and preservation of historic Gullah Geechee Communities.
About the project: The multi-jurisdictional collaboration is being funded by a $75,000 grant from the National Park Service’s Underrepresented Communities Grant program, with matching funds from the city of Charleston and the Preservation Society of Charleston.
The project is designed to achieve the following goals:
- Connect a cohort of historic Gullah Geechee/African American Communities with the resources and technical assistance necessary to achieve their historic and cultural preservation goals.
- Document the historical significance of community-identified sites, features and districts through surveys, oral history, archival collections and other methods.
- Facilitate partnerships with a network of organizations to increase collaboration and sustainability for ongoing preservation efforts beyond the grant period.
- Submit a successful nomination for the Scanlonville Cemetery to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and potentially other nominations if desired by participating communities.
Project advisors include retired National Park Service Park Ranger Michael Allen and Center for Heirs Property Manager of Strategic Initiatives Esther Adams. Additional supporting partners to-date include: Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, Berkeley County, City of North Charleston, Clemson University Historic Preservation Department, Historic Charleston Foundation, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, Gullah Geechee Group, Inc., Lowcountry Gullah Foundation and Town of James Island.
How to attend: Citizens are invited to attend one of the following in-person or virtual information sessions, each scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m.:
- Thursday, July 20, 2023, Keith School Museum, 1509 Clements Ferry Road, Wando
- Monday, July 24, 2023, Baxter Patrick Library, 1858 S. Grimball Road, James Island
- Thursday, August 3, 2023, Mount Pleasant Waterworks, Rifle Range Road, Mt. Pleasant
- Monday, August 7, 2023, J.E. Clyburn Wiltown Community Center, 5779 Parkers Ferry Road, Adams Run
- Thursday, August 10, 2023, Cynthia G. Hurd Library, 1735 N. Woodmere Drive, West Ashley
- Monday, August 14, 2023, Chicora Cherokee Elementary (Media Center) 3100 Carner Avenue, North Charleston
- Thursday, August 17, 2023, Johns Island County Library, 3531 Maybank Highway, Johns Island
- Monday, August 21, 2023, Virtual Zoom Session, Click Here to Register
For detailed project information, please visit: www.charleston-sc.gov/urc.
What they’re saying:
City of Charleston Human Affairs and Racial Conciliation Manager Adrian Capers Swinton said, “Valuing diversity means acknowledging and investing in the history and legacy of those who contributed to American culture under inhumane conditions. This project will expand our community’s cultural awareness and knowledge of the Gullah Geechee heritage, and I look forward to getting started.”
Charleston County Council Chairman Herbert Sass said, “Charleston County is committed to supporting preservation in historic African American settlement communities, and I would encourage residents to attend one of these information meetings to learn more about the Gullah Geechee Heritage Preservation Project.”
Town of Mount Pleasant Office of Neighborhood Livability Division Chief Liz Boyles said, “We are excited to be partnering with the National Park Service and other local entities to support research that will help our local historic African American communities document, protect, and celebrate their rich history.
Preservation Society of Charleston President and CEO Brian Turner said, “This initiative not only recognizes the importance of Gullah Geechee heritage, it aims to address long-standing disparities in access to the benefits of historic designations. We are excited at the opportunity to spark community dialogue, play a listening role and lend our expertise on how the National Register can be an agent for the preservation of culture and traditions that are deeply entwined in Lowcountry history.”