Lonnie Bunch was recently promoted to head the entire Smithsonian Institution. A few years ago, when Mr. Bunch was in charge of developing the African American History and Culture Museum, he came to Hilton Head Island to visit with the Gullah-Geechee Consortium.
We happened to sit across from him at lunch and asked him how he evaluated the importance of Mitchelville. Without hesitation, he responded that Mitchelville was the best story he had heard, and that we needed to do everything we could to keep telling the Mitchelville story. He was referring to the success of the town of Mitchelville, begun on Hilton Head Island in the 1862, in the middle of the Civil War. Located around what is now Beach City Road, formerly enslaved people proved they could triumph over their former adversities and form a town of 5,000 residents.
As historic tourism becomes a bigger piece of Hilton Head’s economic pie, there is even more reason to support the plans for Mitchelville’s future. The Town of Hilton Head Island and Beaufort County are providing funding. Our state senator, Tom Davis, and state representative, Jeff Bradley, have been working to get funding from the state, and recently secured $150,000 in the state budget.
The Mitchelville Preservation Project has a full-time executive director, a soon-to-be completed master plan, and loyal supporters. They are on the move. Combined with the other local cultural/historic sites, Hilton Head will be known for the historical treasure that it is.
Marcia and Jim Collett
Hilton Head Island
Read Sally Murphy’s ‘Turning the Tide’ to learn why sea turtles are rebounding
It has been a joy to read about the booming nesting season for loggerhead turtles. This is great news, considering the many obstacles these creatures face in reaching maturity.
It took considerable energy, research, and courage to turn around the declining status of these turtles. “Turning the Tide” by Sally Murphy of Sheldon documents her career as a biologist, researcher, and crusader for loggerhead turtles, even in the face of threats against her life.
Her efforts from the late 1970s to the mid-90s to understand the challenges to survival and successful nesting, find viable solutions, and to develop and lobby for legislation to protect the loggerhead population make her a hero.
As one of Sally’s research volunteers, I gathered the information about dozens of dead turtles on the Isle of Palms to help identify the main cause of death as drowning and support the use of Turtle Excluder Devices in shrimp nets. These devices have been extraordinarily effective in saving turtles and it is rare to find a dead turtle on the beach.
South Carolina was the first state to require the use of TEDs and mainly due to Murphy’s dedication. The numerous nest monitoring programs along our coast are an outgrowth of her work and Hunting Island still shows a training video for volunteers featuring a younger Sally.
Sally Murphy’s accomplishments are testimony that we can make a difference and that laws can be passed to save our planet, our species, and ourselves.
Nike decision unpatriotic
The Phil Knight ham-handed decision to cease manufacturing “patriotic-toned” Nike sneakers is a purported unpatriotic bending for supposed commercial benefit in lieu of support of the national heritage.
What strategy/tactic seeks profit? Need to brush-up on history, Phil. Betsy Ross, like John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, was an abolitionist.
Wake up, America, and support patriotism every day.
Almighty God bless America
Jesse W. Iverson
Hilton Head Island