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AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE PROGRAM

Our African-American Heritage Program works to advance the broader preservation movement towards a more diverse and equitable representation of American history. 

By the time of the American Revolution, South Carolina was the richest of any of the colonies, and by a wide margin at that. The number of enslaved people would ensure that South Carolina would be at the center of future American history, including the Civil War, the Reconstruction Era, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow, and Brown vs. Board of Education. Many of the landmarks associated with these eras are either gone or at risk.

We have helped save historically significant landmarks associated with all of the eras associated with Black South Carolina history, including work on Daufuskie Island.

Barely a dozen people descended from the original Gullah inhabitants still live on Daufuskie. Most of the historic homes and cottages, unique in design to the Gullah communities, are abandoned. All those that remain are listed as contributing properties in the National Register of Historic Places.

For nearly a decade, we have worked with Gullah descendants to restore some of the original houses for use as rental cottages, such as the 1865 Frances Jones House (above), but at the same time allowing the original families to retain ownership under a long-term lease arrangement with Preservation South Carolina.

SAVED

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Good Hope Baptist Church

Eastover, Richland County

Listed in the National Register 1986. 

The church, which had been dormant for years, was donated to Preservation South Carolina with the stipulation that the structure must always remain intact. In less than a month, a buyer was found, a large nearby Black community eager to find a permanent place of worship for their congregants.       

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Mt. Carmel Presbyterian

Abbeville county

Listed in the National Register 1982. 

Mount Carmel, formed in the 1880s, soon became a flourishing village. But in the 1930s those good times disappeared. Today, its historic district contains a number of buildings built during the town’s early days, including Mt. Carmel Presbyterian Church. Due to a generous donation, the church is now restored.

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Trinity Episcopal Church

Abbeville

Listed in the National Register 1971. 

This Gothic Revival masterpiece had been shuttered for years prior to Preservation South Carolina being accorded a five-year lease  by the diocese to both raise significant funds and perform the necessary repairs. More work remains, but the church is once again safe and secure and open for worship.

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