Thank you to Tom Barton for his story "Mitchelville: A fight to preserve an American story" in Sunday's Island Packet.
Mitchelville is a significant historical site and was influential as a demonstration of the desire for freedom and self-governance, but I would like to issue a caveat that I do not have definite proof that it was the first self-governing contraband village.
I am in the process of doing research to see when and how this freed people's town was governed in relation to the other contraband camps in the Port Royal area and in other states. The evidence indicates it was one of the first, and that would be the more appropriate statement at this point.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Beaufort County Library, the Heritage Library and the Coastal Discovery Museum, as well as knowledgeable area historians and Gullah experts, for the assistance I have received thus far. I look forward to sharing the results of my research in the future with the Mitchelville Preservation Project, and I wish them all the best.
Monica M. Tetzlaff
University of Indiana
Civil Rights Heritage Center
South Bend, Ind.