Less Traveled 2010

Tracy Pou



Highlight from History: African American Experience at Redcliffe Plantation, Beech Island

Posted 9/13/2010 11:02:00 AM
Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site
, located on 369 acres in Aiken County, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 10,000 square foot Greek-Revival style mansion, built in 1859, was home of S.C. Gov. James Henry Hammond and three generations of his descendants.

African American history is at the heart of Redcliffe history. The plantation was home to generations of African Americans who lived on the plantation as slaves, free
men and women and later as paid employees. Elizabeth Laney, historian, genealogist and park interpreter at Redcliffe, says over the past two years she’s received calls from more than a dozen people who are researching their family tree looking to Redcliffe for answers about their African American ancestors. She says good record keeping has provided them with a wealth of information.

“The Hammond family wrote down everything,” Laney said. “While their records have been donated to the University of South Carolina, we use copies of the Hammond Papers for information and background during our tours and programs.”

In addition to its regular tour program, Redcliffe also holds special programs throughout the year that highlight the contributions of African Americans at Redcliffe. The African American Experience is held three times a year, each time focusing on a different theme. November’s theme will be “African Origins.” As part of the program, visitors will tour two slave cabins, the Redcliffe mansion, review historical documentation and participate in various demonstrations.

The African American Experience: African Origins will be held Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon. See www.southcarolinaparks.com for more information. Anyone interested in exploring the link Redcliffe Plantation might have to their family history can click here or call the site at (803) 827-1473.