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Penn Center, Saint Helena Island

#1 of 10 in Things to do in Saint Helena Island
Must see · Historic Site · Tourist Spot
The Penn Center, formerly the Penn School, is an African-American cultural and educational center in the Corners Community, on Saint Helena Island. Founded in 1862 by Quaker and Unitarian missionaries from Pennsylvania, it was the first school founded in the Southern United States specifically for the education of African-Americans. It provided critical educational facilities to Gullah slaves freed after plantation owners fled the island, and continues to fulfill an educational mission. The campus was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1974. Darrah Hall and Brick Baptist Church on the campus were declared part of Reconstruction Era National Monument in January 2017. In spring of 2019, it became the Reconstruction Era National Historic Park, along with Fort Sumter.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
204 reviews
  • We visited the Penn Center back in the '90s for the first time and then again about 6 years ago - both times on our own. A lot had changed between our first and second visits; however the impact...  more »
  • The Penn Center introduced me to a completely new piece of history about SC and the low county. Such an incredible story about the education program that was developed to teach formerly enslaved...  more »
  • This place is so full of history and resources. One would be wise to explore and take in what the Penn Center has to offer. I would advise you to get a tour if possible, but there is SO much to learn here.
  • I love the history that you learn here. And they have some beautiful baskets to buy. They are the grass baskets that are so famous in this area. They also have some rugs and other great craft items that very talented people have made.

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