A new mobile application will allow tech-savvy travelers and history buffs to explore important African American cultural landmarks in South Carolina.
“The project is designed to create an app with African American historic sites but we will also include festivals restaurants, other African American businesses,” said Jannie Harriot, Executive Director of the SC African American Heritage Foundation, who leads the project that will create the app.
Harriot said that the app hopes to pull people off of major roads and highways in South Carolina and bring tourists to more rural parts of the state. “Cultural tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in this country today. South Carolina is rich with cultural tourism,” Harriot continued “we feel that the history of African Americans and the contributions of African Americans in this state is so important and has been overlooked for so long.”
The app intends to let tourists and residents alike discover the cultural significance that exists in the state while also stimulating local business that are part of South Carolina’s history.
An important part of the project lies in getting visitors to understand that historical markers are more than a copper plaque near a building. One of the prominent historical places that Harriot mentioned as being featured in the app is Sullivan’s Island, where many Africans first came to the country. Harriot also listed some personal favorites, St. James AME Church, “that is the home church of Senator Clementa Pinckney.” The historical marker most dear to Harriot is Bulter High School, a pillar in Harriot’s hometown of Hartsville, where the community rallied to preserve the historic school by getting Darlington County Board of Education to donate the property.
The $100,000 project for the app is funded through an appropriation from the South Carolina General Assembly proposed by State Sen. Vincent Sheheen. The app will be released in January 2017 just before Black History Month.
For a list of African American historical places included on the mobile app visit the SC African American Heritage Commission webpage.