Penn Center

Penn Center

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qFor more than 150 years, the Penn Center, located on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, has been an epicenter of African American education, historic preservation, and social justice for tens of thousands of descendants of formerly enslaved West Africans living in the Sea Islands. Founded in 1862 in the midst of the Civil War after the island was secured by Union troops, the Penn School was established by two Northern missionaries, Laura M. Towne and Ellen Murray, to provide a formal education for former slaves who formed the nucleus of the coastal Gullah Geechee community. Burton and Cross examine the intricate history and evolution of the Penn Center over the past 150 years and place it in its modern context. In 1901, the Penn School expanded to become the Penn Normal, Agricultural and Industrial School after adopting the industrial arts curriculum taught at Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes. The educational training stood at the forefront of progressivism and reform as it helped to advance an entire generation and community into the Industrial Age after slavery. This project makes a tremendous contribution with its examination of Penn Center's role in the Civil Rights Movement: it was the only location in South Carolina where interracial groups, including Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Peace Corps, could have safe sanctuary in an era of mandated segregation. During the Sea Island resort boom of the mid- to late-20th century, the Penn Center was instrumental in preserving land on St. Helena. Since 1974, the campus of seventeen historic structures and eight other sites has been designated a National Historic Landmark District, one of only four in the state of South Carolina, and the only African American historic district so namedq--In 2008, Tuskegee University awarded me the George Washington Carver Public Service Award for my work at Penn Center, formerly Penn School, on St. Helena Island, South Carolina. I had retired as Penn Centera#39;s executive director sixanbsp;...

Title:Penn Center
Author:Orville Vernon Burton, Wilbur Cross
Publisher:University of Georgia Press - 2014-10-15


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