Press Release | Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park to Unveil Newly-Erected Ghosted Structures

Media Contact:

Curtis Elmore, III  Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park Phone: 843-255-7301


Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park to Welcome National Elected Officials, External Stakeholders and Supporters for the Unveiling of Newly-Erected Ghosted Structures

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina – On June 7, 2024, the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park (HMFP) will proudly unveil the newly-erected Ghosted Structures including a Church Arcade and homesteads of varying sizes representing a slice of life as it was when the settlement was founded in 1862. As a ribbon-cutting ceremony, this event will recognize the completion of the Park’s first phase of construction efforts to preserve and honor this important piece of United States Reconstruction History and Gullah Geechee heritage on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The media can expect remarks from local, state and national elected officials as well as Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park Leadership, key stakeholders, community leaders, and descendants of Mitchelville residents. As part of the celebration, media can also capture b-roll through tours of the structures showcasing their historical and cultural significance, led by Historic Mitchelville staff.

The Ghosted Structures are representations of buildings that once stood in the Mitchelville, a community established for escaped slaves, or “contrabands” in 1862 by the United States Army during it’s occupation of Hilton Head Island during the Civil War. They are frames made of steel beams and showcase interpretive signs explaining their significance within the overall context of the settlement and connection to the Reconstruction Movement. The structures were placed in the same locations as the original buildings using US Army Maps created in 1862.

The original settlement of Mitchelville, named for Union Army Major General Ormsby Mitchel, was the first self-governed freedmen’s town in the United States, and was part of the first efforts of Reconstruction, also called “The Port Royal Experiment.” The settlement thrived and served as a pillar of culture and education for the formerly enslaved until the 1893 Sea Islands hurricane, in which storm surge killed over 2,000 Hilton Head Island residents and leveled much of the built infrastructure on the Island, including Mitchelville.

These Ghosted Structures serve as a reminder, and explain what life was like during the height of the settlement, which boasted between 1,500-3,000 residents. Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, “Where Freedom Began,” now shines as a beacon of endurance, resilience, and resourcefulness within the Gullah Geechee Community, Hilton Head Island, and beyond.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by emailing Curtis Elmore, III at by Friday, May 31, 2024.



Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park Praise House to Gullah Ribbon-Cutting and Tours


Local, state and national elected officials, HMFP Leadership, Key Stakeholders, Community Leaders, Descendants of Mitchelville Residents


Friday, June 7, 2024


10:00 -11:00 AM


Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park

40 Harriet Tubman Way Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

For more on the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, please visit

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