COLUMBIA, SC – Today, Congressman James E. Clyburn announced that the National Park Service has added four new sites in South Carolina to the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network. Established in 2019 by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, this network was created to preserve and protect sites across the country that tell the story of America’s Reconstruction Era. The addition of these four sites brings the number of Reconstruction-era sites in South Carolina to 26, making it the largest in the national network.
“I am pleased to see these four additional sites from South Carolina added to the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network,” said Congressman Clyburn. “Reconstruction is often a misunderstood part of our history, and these new sites build on the network’s mission of accurately telling the complete story of this era. These new additions will also greatly boost our state’s tourism industry by welcoming visitors from across the country who wish to learn about this important history.”
Below are the four new sites from South Carolina added to the network:
- Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site in Aiken County was completed in 1859 and was once home to South Carolina governor James Henry Hammond. This site tells the story of Hammond’s descendants as well as the free and enslaved Black families who shaped the cultural history and landscape of this plantation from 1855 through Reconstruction and up to 1975. The existing slave quarters and mansion serve to highlight the plantation’s rich and varied history.
- Randolph Cemetery in Columbia is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and served as the first formal private cemetery for Blacks in the city. Established in 1872, it is named in honor of African American State Senator Benjamin Franklin Randolph, who was assassinated in 1868. This cemetery became the final resting place for many prominent Reconstruction Era Black politicians.
- The Town of Lincolnville in Charleston County was a freedmen’s town founded in 1867 by seven African American men who purchased 620 acres to create a community of homes, churches, and schools for African American people, primarily of Gullah Geechee heritage who had migrated from the Sea Islands.
- The Schofield Normal and Industrial School in Aiken was founded in 1871 by Martha Schofield, a Pennsylvania Quaker, to educate newly freed slaves. This center helped train teachers who taught throughout the state’s rural Black schools and served as a public high school for Black students during segregation. It is now a public middle school.
For more information about Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, visit www.nps.gov/reer.