• Helping Kids Rise

The Historic Penn Center: A Visit With My Ancestors

Over the holiday break, I took a much-needed trip to the beloved Penn Center on St. Helena Island. I’ve visited Penn Center many times before, but on this trip I felt something special. The property was quiet; the wind was rustling through the moss-draped trees. I could feel a spiritual presence all around me.

Penn Center, formerly known as Penn School was one of the first schools for freed slaves. Recently Congressmen Jim Clyburn and Mark Sanford introduced a bill to make Penn Center a national monument.

“For generations the story of this era was intentionally manipulated to downplay the civil rights and economic gains made by African-Americans following the Civil War and the pernicious efforts by white Southerners to disfranchise them,” said Clyburn, the highest-ranking black Democrat in Congress. (The Post and Courier)

Penn Center is an important part of South Carolina (and American) History, but for me it is simply a part of MY history. It's where my ancestors once lived and learned. I visit Penn Center as often as I can in hopes of reconnecting with my strong and resilient roots.

Learn more about Penn Center:

Penn Center


In the news: Clyburn, Sanford push to make Penn Center a national monument


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