18 April 2009

African Passages

In honor of National Park Week, April 18-26, I post this link to African Passages.

African Passages is a new exhibit at Fort Moultrie examines the role of Sullivan’s Island as a quarantine station during the international slave trade when Charleston was the main port of entry for captive Africans in North America. Historians estimate that slave ships brought 200,000 to 360,000 men, women, and children into Charleston’s harbor. Between 1707 and 1799, when arriving ships carried infectious diseases, their free or enslaved passengers were quarantined either aboard ship or in island “pest houses.” This painful history makes Sullivan’s Island a gateway through which many African Americans can trace their entry into America. Fort Moultrie is part of Fort Sumter National Monument.

Beaufort's own, Jonathan Green, provided some artwork for the exhibit. The Beaufort County Library has works about the slave trade and slavery by Edward Ball, Joseph Opala, and Ronald Daise in case you want to learn more. You can also use the Library's subscription database, Ancestry Library Edition, to search for your own ancestors.

PS: I found the link via Heritage News, a monthly e-newsletter published by the National Park Service to deliver timely information on topics including grant opportunities, new laws or policies, events, and activities of interest to the national heritage community. Anyone can subscribe to Heritage News for free.

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