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Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park


Hilton Head, SC

Preservation Landscape Architecture: WLA Studio
Exhibit Design: Proun Design, LLC
Master Plan Budget: $225k

In 1861, the Union navy obliterated the Confederate fort on Hilton Head Island. The white plantation owners fled, leaving their resident enslaved African Americans to fend for themselves and Hilton Head quickly became a safe haven for newly freed slaves in the region. General Mitchel, a staunch abolitionist, gave the freedmen land on the island and materials to build their own town. In 1862, Mitchelville became the first self-governed freedman’s town in the country.

Proun Design, WLA Studios, and International Coalition of Sites of Conscience have developed a master plan for the interpretation of this dramatic episode in American history. We have conducted focus groups with stakeholders from the community including Mitchelville descendants, members of the chamber of commerce, and the National Park Services among others. We’ve also held a scholars’ summit that included representation from the National Trust, Gullah Heritage Trail Tours, historians and interpretive specialists to lay the foundation of our interpretive plan.

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