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  • Following Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson repealed a special order which distributed abandoned land to the formerly enslaved. This caused a great upheaval in areas surrounding Hilton Head, as planters came back to reclaim their property and labor contracts were now necessary for freedmen to continue farming on the once-abandoned property. 
  • This was not the case on Hilton Head Island, as the US government retained ownership of the land there until it was certain war would not reignite. Former plantation owners could not return and freedmen were able to continue renting from the government without interference from the previous owners. 

Support our efforts to preserve, promote and honor Historic Mitchelville, the first self-governed town of formerly enslaved people in the United States by sharing, donating, and volunteering.