HHI unveils new Mitchelville displays

Published: May. 10, 2012 at 7:13 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2012 at 8:10 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - A recent state resolution in South Carolina could change what's been written in the text books about the nation's first  Freedman's Community. On Thursday, Mitchelville, which was formed in 1862 on Hilton Head Island near present day Beach City Road, found itself in the pages of history and on a shell-lined walkway at Fish Haul Park.

Tucked away in the trees is a part of history that will now not go forgotten. Hilton Head Island's Mitchelville was the country's first Freedman's Community. On Thursday, the markers of that history were unveiled as a class project for the Hilton Head Bluffton Chamber of Commerce's 2012 Leadership Program.
"We've been able to resurrect this story. People will realized how important this story is to the community and the history of our community," says Paul Bose, HHI-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce 2012 Leadership Program.

Representative Andy Patrick introduced a resolution for the Palmetto State to officially recognize the importance of Mitchelville and what it means to the nation, the state and the community.

"What America is really made of is who really put the blood sweat and tears into making this country what it is today," said Patrick.

"For opening the doors, politically for helping this place, Mitchelville, to be a part of South Carolina History. Thank you," said Thomas Barnwell, Jr.

It took about $16,000 from fundraising and about $16,000 more in donations to make this park a reality but it took way more than that 150 years ago to make this community a thriving Freedman Society.

"This is a place not only a place with golf, beaches and restaurants, this is a place
of history too and we are very proud of that," said Ben Williams, Mitchelville Preservation Project.

Mitchelville artifacts have been found throughout the island and most recently at the airport, which sits next door to Fish Haul Park, where the Mitchelville kiosks are located. The artifacts discovered recently at the airport are still awaiting official word from South Carolina's Historical Society. 

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