South Carolina’s newest national monument was dedicated Saturday, formally opening to the public but still needing years of work before it can get fully up to speed.
The Reconstruction Era National Monument covers five different sites across Beaufort County that focus on African-American history in the years immediately following the Civil War. The National Park Service held a ceremony at one of the those sites — the Penn Center — on Saturday afternoon.
“The sites are just to give context,” U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn said. “I think the important thing is for the story to be told.”
Clyburn had spent 17 years pushing for the park’s creation, upset at what he feels has been the neglect or deliberate falsehoods told about the brief period of American history where former slaves and freedmen were able to vote and hold office across the South before whites used violence and the judicial system to gradually remove those rights once again in the 1880s. Historians peg Reconstruction as occurring between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and when the last federal troops were pulled out of South Carolina in 1877. [Read more…]