A celebration on St. Helena Island on Saturday has been 16 years in the making.
Beaufort County’s new national monument to Reconstruction will be dedicated starting at 1 p.m. Saturday at Penn Center during what is being described as a community celebration. A national monument sign will be unveiled, park rangers will stamp National Park Service passports and assembled dignitaries will offer remarks.
U.S. Reps. Jim Clyburn and Mark Sanford are expected to attend, according to a National Park Service news release. Former U.S. Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt, who helped support the idea of a monument when the effort began in 2000, and acting Park Service director Mike Reynolds will also participate.
The event is expected to last two hours and is free and open to the public. Those who attend are asked to bring lawn chairs.
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Then-President Barack Obama established the monument before leaving office in January. The designation will preserve and interpret Beaufort County sites integral to the story of the period during and after the Civil War when freed people attended school and participated in business and local government.
The monument includes Darrah Hall on the Penn Center campus, nearby Brick Baptist Church, the Camp Saxton site on the grounds of Naval Hospital Beaufort in Port Royal, and the old firehouse in downtown Beaufort.