Explore Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, Hilton Head Is.

mitchelville freedom park hilton head daytrips savannah

Established in 1862 on Hilton Head Is. SC, Mitchelville is the first place in the United States where African Americans, out of slavery but not yet citizens, self-governed. This first self-governed town of freed slaves is commemorated in the historic site of Mitchelville Freedom Park on Beach City Road.

On your next visit to Hilton Head, visit this quiet, historically significant ocean-side site.

*First town where enslaved people were freed following the Emancipation Proclamation
*Located just across the river from Savannah.
*The town was an important stop on the Underground Railroad and the first place to be governed by African Americans.

The park was created by the nonprofit Mitchelville Preservation Project to educate the public about the resilience of the freed people of Mitchelville. This 19th-century town of freed slaves was around before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, when most of the African-American population in the South was still enslaved. Residents built homes, a one-room schoolhouse, stores, praise houses and created a new, self-governed culture.

Overlooking the marsh is a Bench by the Road, one of 20 memorial bench sites worldwide created by the Toni Morrison Society. The black steel benches are placed in areas to remember once-forgotten moments in African-American history. Learn more about the other Freedom Park exhibits here. 

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