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The historic Sandy Island School now added to African American Civil Rights Network

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - There’s a new addition to the African American Civil Rights Network and it’s in Georgetown County.

The historic Sandy Island School is located one boat ride away on Sandy Island, a community rich in Gullah Geechee culture.

The Sandy Island community, Coastal Carolina University and Brookgreen Gardens partnered together to form The Sandy Island Cultural Initiative to tell and protect the stories of Sandy Island. Now, they’ll have additional help with telling the stories.

In September, the Sandy Island School was added to the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Network.

The network is a national resource that collects stories about people and places that played a part in the fight for African American Civil Rights in America.

During that time period, the Sandy Island School was known for its adult literacy and education courses. These classes helped many African Americans in Georgetown County to vote.

Robin Salmon, the vice president of art and historical collections and curator of sculpture at Brookgreen Gardens, is part of the SICI team helping to preserve the school’s history.

Salom said the network is another way to preserve Georgetown stories from that era, including the African American experiences. She added it will also allow more people to learn why the Sandy Island School is a part of Civil Rights history.

“It was used for adult education, to allow them in the 1950′s and early 1960′s to be able to pass literacy tests in order to vote,” Salmon said. “As a result of that education, Sandy Islanders and other Georgetown County residents were able to vote. The percentage was rather high and that’s another big deal. The African American Civil Rights Network gives us opportunities for more information and for sharing information. Other organizations outside of South Carolina can learn what South Carolina has to offer historically, Sandy Island in particular.”

The Sandy Island School is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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