Visitors and volunteers gathered in Fish Haul Creek Park and St. James Baptist Church on Hilton Head Island to celebrate the Mitchelville Preservation Society’s Freedom Day on Saturday afternoon.
Guests dined on a Gullah-inspired breakfast in Cherry Hill School before learning the history of Mitchelville, the first self-governing town of freed slaves in the United States, on walking tours through Fish Haul Creek Park. “Remembering the Days of Mitchelville,” a play inspired by historic letters sent from Hilton Head Island and performed by volunteers, combined song and history to teach the audience the story of Mitchelville.
Patricia Montgomery, volunteer coordinator for the Mitchelville Preservation Society, said Freedom Day was a chance to teach others a portion of history that isn’t taught in schools and history books.
“We want to correct history and put this part of history where it needs to be,” she said.
Montgomery said she and other volunteers wanted the Mitchelville Preservation Project, a mission to rebuild and replicate the former civilization for historic and education purposes, to serve as a learning site for everyone and a reminder that Mitchelville was “African American people...taking their own freedom.”
“It was truly a time of liberating self,” she said. “We want to remind people of that.”
In honor of Freedom Day, below are 10 facts you should know about the town of Mitchelville.