Mitchelville School Outreach Program

Fundraising Goal: $50,000

Griot’s Corner
How’ell Do You Know Hilton Head History Hike
MAGIC Youth Program

According to a 2023 “Best States” study from U.S. News and World Report, the state of South Carolina ranks 42nd among all states in Education. Despite the relatively high four-year college graduation rate, the state faltered with reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam, low pre-school enrollment figures and low two-year college graduation rates.  Additionally, South Carolina students struggled to meet the college readiness benchmarks on the ACT exam.   The Education results may be due to other findings during the report that ranked South Carolina at 31st in “infrastructure” and 38th in “opportunity.”  The opportunity benchmark was measured on factors such as: housing affordability, gender equality and the poverty rate, which at 14.6%, is slightly higher than the U.S. average of 12.8%.

Due to the economic disparity of Beaufort County, many of its young residents cannot envision certain opportunities due to their living conditions.   They, like the newly freed individuals after the Battle of Port Royal, face uncertain times and wonder about their future. The African Americans who followed the Union army searching for opportunity were considered “destined to fail.”  They were perceived as inferior and incapable of successfully existing outside of the yoke of slavery. It was the desire to live the American dream that encouraged them and gave them the fortitude to create a path towards self-sufficiency. Once they were afforded the opportunity to create their community and chart their own course, they flourished and proved they were more than capable. . The Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park believes that the will and determination of the people who created Mitchelville can influence this generation’s youth to strive for greatness. HMFP understands that the themes of “citizenship,” “self-determination” and “opportunity” are just as powerful now as they were when Mitchelville residents obtained their first taste of freedom.   

Historic Mitchelville was the site of the first mandatory school system in the state of South Carolina.  Education is a cornerstone of the foundation of Mitchelville.  It is imperative that our organization places a high priority on our interactions with students and teachers.  We have created lesson plans written by teachers from the state, that are featured on our website.  The organization has three impactful educational programs geared toward K-12 that are making an impact in the Beaufort County area.  

  • Griot’s Corner is a program tailored for K –through 3rd Grade students that uses storytellers and children’s activities to highlight freedom, acceptance, multiculturalism and citizenship. The “Griot” (ɡrēˈō,ˈɡrēō) is a West African storyteller, historian and/or musician. The griot’s role was to preserve the genealogies and oral traditions of their people. Griot’s Corner uses the spirit of storytelling to promote literacy and to help young students build strong character traits.
  • The How’ell Do You Know Hilton Head History Hike is geared toward Middle School students and engages them in an immersive experience in the Mitchelville area that links appreciation of the environment to the important history that surrounds them. The program enhances curriculum and challenge current perspectives, through group learning and growing opportunities full of fun and educational, creative icebreakers, games and group initiatives.
  • Modeling our Ancestors to Generate Influence and Change  (MAGIC) Youth Program utilizes HMFP’s mission, collections, programs, and partnerships to engage area high school students in a series of training experiences and internship opportunities that will help them develop into lifelong learners, productive citizens, and community leaders. Students who successfully complete the program will serve as Docents (tour guides) at Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park.

Along with these impactful programs, the organization provides tours of the Park for various ages and grade levels.  An additional component of the tour is the inclusion of information regarding the archaeological excavations that have happened on the site that help to cultivate the story.  A major component of the “outreach” to schools is providing an opportunity for schools to come to the park site for programming. HMFP is soliciting funding to support shuttles provided by the Gullah Heritage Trail Tours to bring students, especially elementary and middle school students to the site so they can take advantage of HMFP offerings.

As our physical plant grows and our national scope increases, so should the reach of our educational programs.  We need to expand current offerings and open the door to outreach in the greater Beaufort County and Jasper and Hampton County areas.   HMFP is seeking support to affect real change for students and teachers in the Lowcountry using the Mitchelville story. The organization knows that there are several schools in the Greater Beaufort County / Jasper County area that cannot afford to come to the Park for programming and may not be in position to accommodate travel whether is it paid for or not.  Outreach to these areas not only enrich the education opportunities for the students in these areas, but it will also help to bridge the knowledge gap with parents and guardians as well. This initiative will bring Mitchelville program staff into the classroom to conduct variations of the three specialized programs already in progress along with new programs created for classrooms that support or align with Mitchelville themes.

Program Goals

Program Timeline

The Project will begin during the Fall 2024 semester and last through the 2024-2025 school year.  The project is being established with the long-term goal of securing funding to continue the program.

Who Does It Benefit?

The Mitchelville School Outreach Project will directly benefit school aged children in the proposed area and teachers and administrators who are eager to extend the scope of history instruction. In addition, we feel this project will aid in fostering a sound appreciation for the Lowcountry and the rich history and culture that sets this area apart from other cultural regions.

Donate Today

Mitchelville Preservation Project Inc. dba Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, Inc. is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Our EIN number is 272308109. Your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.