Greetings from the
African American Historial Alliance
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to the African American Historical Alliance at 636-G Long Point Road, Box 32, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464. If you are interested in joining our organization, please download and complete our membership form
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AAHA E-NEWS - FALL 2009
There have been several important initiatives that have taken place with AAHA throughout the past year. We thank our loyal members for making these accomplishments possible and for supporting our mission to serve as a leading resource for education and the celebration of African American Civil War and Reconstruction history in South Carolina.
Amistad Crew Joins AAHA for Robert Smalls Movie Premier
In 1862 Robert Smalls, a 23-year-old slave, commandeered the C.S.S. Planter, a 147-feet long Confederate transport steamer, from Charleston's Southern Wharf. With his wife, children and 12 other slaves aboard, he gave the correct whistle signal as he sailed past the rebel forts in the harbor and then headed out to sea and surrendered to the nearest Union vessel. This courageous move began an amazing and heroic journey that would take him to the U.S. Congress.
As a tribute to Smalls's historic endeavors, AAHA was pleased to present the Charleston premiere of "Congressman Robert Smalls: A Patriot's Journey from Slavery to Capitol Hill," a documentary focusing on the life and accomplishments of Robert Smalls, a true South Carolina hero. The screening took place at the American Theater on King Street in downtown Charleston and was followed by a panel discussion with the producer and several South Carolina historians.
In attendance were crew members from the Freedom Schooner Amistad that was in town for the Charleston Maritime Festival. The ship is most notable as the scene of a revolt by African captives being transported from Havana to another Cuban port. When they took control of the ship in July 1839 and were later captured by the United States Navy, La Amistad became a symbol in the movement to abolish slavery. Today the boat replica is operated by Amistad America Inc., a nonprofit organization based in New Haven, Connecticut. The ship's mission is to educate the public on the history of slavery, discrimination, and civil rights. To learn more, visit Amistad America Inc.
AAHA Participates in Event Honoring the Visit of the MG Robert Smalls
Last year, 146 years after Smalls' gallant dash to freedom, one of the U.S. Army's largest assets, the Major General (MG) Robert Smalls, its commander and crew of 35 soldiers made a historic sail past Charleston's Southern Wharf. The MG Robert Smalls is the first U.S. Army ship to bear the name of an African American and the first named for a Civil War hero. AAHA was honored to have sponsored this monumental event. Our own, Billy Jenkinson, AAHA's co-chairman, participated in the ceremony commemorating the historic return to Charleston and shared with the attendees the importance of remembering our history and the impact that individuals such as Robert Smalls made.
Supporting Company I of the 54th Massachusetts
AAHA continued to support Company I of the 54th Massachusetts re-enactors during their annual pilgrimage to Morris Island to commemorate the date that the African-American volunteer infantry regiment assaulted Battery Wagner. Although the July 18, 1863 assault was defeated, the bravery of the regiment under intense fire produced a profound effect in the recruiting of African Americans in the war effort. Sergeant William Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for is selfless acts in defending the United States flag during that battle. By chartering additional transportation, the Alliance was able to almost double the number attending the event.
DVDs Available to Educators
Proceeds from the sale of tickets for the Charleston premiere of "Congressman Robert Smalls: A Patriot's Journey from Slavery to Capitol Hill," premier were used to purchase copies of this documentary for South Carolina schools. If you are an educator, or know an educator, that would be interested in having a copy, please contact us at email@example.com
Pictured: Park Ranger Donel Singleton presents copies of the Robert Smalls DVD to Charleston County middle school teachers, Joy Datta (left) and Timothy Sweeney (center).
Supporting the Heritage Commission
Earlier this year, the African American Heritage Commission held its fourth annual conference, "Preserving Our Places in History : the Barbados Link," at the Brookland Baptist Church Banquet and Conference Center in West Columbia. AAHA was proud to be a sponsor and support the Commission in its mission to identify and promote the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African American experience in South Carolina and to assist and enhance the efforts of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. To learn more about the African American Heritage Commission, visit "http://www.state.sc.us/scdah/afamer/hpaahcommission.htm
Continuing a Tradition of Honoring South Carolina Leaders
With the assistance of State Senator Glenn McConnell, the Alliance is currently campaigning to have a portrait of Lt. Stephen Swails created for the Senate Gallery. Lt. Swails was a distinguished member of the 54th Massachusetts who remained in South Carolina following the war and made significant contributions to the Reconstruction Government as a Senator from Williamsburg County. He was also a trustee of the University of South Carolina and a Major General in the South Carolina Militia. An artist has been selected and a number of significant contributions have been made.
To contribute to this landmark effort, send a check to:
The Stephen Swails Portrait Fund
c/o the African American Historical Alliance
636-G Long Point Road, No.32
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
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Upcoming Events of Interest
The African-American Experience
November 14, 2009
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site - directions
African Americans worked for four generations for the Hammond family, first as slaves, later as sharecroppers and tenant farmers, and finally as paid employees. Come learn about the lives of African Americans at Silver Bluff, Cowden, Cathwood and Redcliffe plantations from 1831 to 1975. Visitors will participate in hands-on activities, such as artifact identification, learning how historians investigate the social and cultural aspects of those who worked for the Hammond/Billings families. Participants will also receive a booklet with primary and secondary documentation, illustrations and photographs of African-American history from the files of Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site. Tours of the slave quarters and the mansion are included in the program fee. $6 per adult.
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