First meeting for Reconstruction Era monument in Beaufort Co.

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

ST. HELENA ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - At the beginning of 2017, Beaufort County was designated as the site of a reconstruction national monument.

A public information session concerning the future of a Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort County was held Monday night.

Officials from the National Park Service want input on five questions reflected here on this comment card, including the challenges they face in creating this monument and the struggles locals had to overcome for emancipation.

The monument calls for four sites in three areas: The old firehouse in Beaufort, Darrah Hall and Brick Baptist Church at Penn Center on Saint Helena Island and Camp Saxton on Port Royal where the first colored troops came together.

The goal of the monument isn't just to preserve the rich history of the area but to educate those unfamiliar with the crucial role Beaufort played in bridging the Civil War with the Civil Rights movement.

"The community that's here has been here for so long with so much rich history with reconstruction, but also spirituality and agriculture," said Emily Mayer, a St. Helena resident.

"This was a school set up by the locals but they struggled every day from the subpar books they got, that still goes on today," said Ben Gilbert, a St. Helena resident.

The public will have until Aug. 18 to give their ideas and suggestions. At that time the park services will review all of the input to create a comprehensive plan.

They're hoping to start work at the Penn Center within the next year.

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