Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Religion in Mitchelville/School in Mitchelville
Before Mitchelville was established, African slaves on the island congregated at impromptu religious services under trees. The churches built in Mitchelville were the center of religious, social, political, and educational life. Following Reconstruction, when legal avenues were increasingly closed to African Americans, the church became the legal foundation for the community. Residents of Mitchelville founded the First African Baptist Church in 1862. In 1865 AME Missionaries and residents founded Queen Chapel AME Church. Both churches continue to serve the spiritual needs of Hilton Head Island.
The vibrant religious practices of African Americans of Gullah descent, former Sea Island slaves, such as the ring shout, were little understood by outsiders, especially the Northerners on Hilton Head Island. A reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer described religious meetings February 1862: Their meetings, are held twice or three times on Sundays, also on Thursday and Friday. They are conducted with fervent devotion by themselves alone, or in the presences of a white clergyman when the services of one are procurable. They close with what is "a glory shout,” one joining hands with another, together in couples, singing a verse and beating time With foot.
Mitchelville was the first town in the South to make school mandatory. All children, ages six to fifteen, attended schools taught by northern missionaries. Children were only excused if they were needed to help their parents and if the teacher approved. Parents in Mitchelville were very involved in their children's education and they often chose one school over another if they thought a teacher was better suited to their children's needs. Parents gave presents to teachers and donated supplies to encourage certain teachers to remain in their community. Schools also had night classes designed for adult students.
Location. 32° 14.221′ N, 80° 41.235′ W. Marker is in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in Beaufort County. Marker can be reached from Beach City Road 0.4 miles north of Dillon Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker located within walking distance of entrance, and inside Fish Haul Creek Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 226 Beach City Rd, Hilton Head Island SC 29926, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Reconnecting with Family (here, next to this marker); Working for Wages/Freedmen’s Bureau (a few steps from this marker); Mitchelville Building Sites Mitchelville and Abolitionists (a few steps from this marker); The Dawn of Freedom: Mitchelville (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Port Royal/William Fitzhugh and Black Sailors in the Union Navy (within shouting distance of this marker); Black Troops on Hilton Head (within shouting distance of this marker); Cherry Hill School (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hilton Head Island.
Regarding Religion in Mitchelville/School in Mitchelville. Mitchelville Freedom Park is the “brain trust” of a dedicated group of volunteers organized as the Mitchelville Preservation Project. Their mission, as quoted from its website, is to: “offer visitors a multi-dimensional freedom celebration that includes historical, cultural, social, political, economic and spiritual components. Parts of the original Town of Mitchelville will be recreated, and the Freedom Park will feature a series of ever changing learning opportunities in the form of revolving exhibits, lectures, forums, tours and cultural programs”. Located within Fish Haul Creek Park, the site currently consist of a free standing pavilion and numerous markers depicting historical events related to Mitchelville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. They are related to the Mitchelville Freedom Park Preservation Project.
Categories. • African Americans • Churches & Religion • Education • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 7, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 95 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 7, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.