Penn Center Builds Capacity with Support from 1772 Foundation

St. Helena Island, SC, May 6, 2019—Historic Penn Center has received support from the 1772 Foundation for a 12-month capacity building project. The project will improve Penn’s ability to sustain itself and be effective well beyond its current 157 year old history, which spans the Civil War, Reconstruction Era, and Civil Rights Movement—through today.

Specific activities and topics supported by the 1772 Foundation include a feasibility study, strategic planning, data collection, examination of best models, community visioning, organizational assessment and the examination of an internal revolving fund. The Foundation funding includes staffing, consultant and facilitation costs; and funds for group convening and meetings. This will be a short-term (one year) project, which will enable Penn Center to catalyze organizational development activities, strengthen the organization and help it better fulfill its mission.

Penn Center Awarded $50,000 from National Park Service for Oral History Project

Penn Center Awarded $50,000 from National Park Service for Oral History Project

News Release Date: September 13, 2019

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service today announced $12.259 million in African American Civil Rights grants to fund 44 projects across 17 states that will preserve and highlight stories related to the African American struggle for equality in the 20th century.

“Through the work and engagement of public and private partners, these grants will preserve a defining part of our nation’s diverse history,” National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith said. “By working with underrepresented communities to preserve their historic places and stories, we will help tell a more complete narrative of the African American experience in the pursuit of civil rights.”

Congress appropriated funding for the African American Civil Rights Grants Program in 2018 through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, providing assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars. Grant-supported projects include surveys and documentation, interpretation and education, oral histories, architectural services, historic structure reports, planning, and physical preservation.

Penn Center, Inc. awarded $50,000 for an oral history project to collect 30 civil rights histories of key civil rights workers who were with King at Penn Center between 1963-1967.

South Carolina Picture Project: Penn Center — St. Helena Island, South Carolina

South Carolina Picture Project: Penn Center — St. Helena Island, South Carolina

“… Penn Center

The Frissell Community House (pictured below) within the historic Penn Center is one of several buildings still utilized by the St. Helena Island cultural center. The center was founded in 1862 as the Penn School, one of the country’s first schools to serve freed slaves. Two missionaries from the North, Laura M. Towne and Ellen Murray, established the school as part of the Port Royal Experiment, a government program that taught newly-freed slaves to manage land abandoned by former plantation owners who fled the area during the Civil War. The school first met in the abandoned Oaks Plantation home before it outgrew the space and relocated to nearby Brick Church and, finally, to its current location…”

Searching Out the Hidden Stories of South Carolina’s Gullah Country

…”Penn Center, (a world-famous African-American cultural institution located on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, half a mile from the tiny town of St. Helena Island) was founded in 1862 as Penn School, the first educational institution in the South created for former slaves. In the 1950s, the school diversified its mission, serving as a retreat for activists and scholars and developing programs to promote economic sustainability. Two buildings on the site, Brick Baptist Church and Darrah Hall, will become part of the new Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, established by President Obama on Jan. 13, 2017…”

A South Carolina Historical Legacy, An American Cultural Treasure By Diane McMahon

Penn Center: 
A South Carolina Historical Legacy, 
An American Cultural Treasure

By Diane McMahon

Penn Center has championed education and civil rights for African-Americans since the Civil War. In 1862, the U.S. Navy declared victory at Port Royal Sound, South Carolina and freed 32,530 slaves from plantations in the Beaufort District. White inhabitants fled the Lowcountry. Northern abolitionists recognized the need to educate the formerly enslaved, and the Philadelphia-based Port Royal Relief Committee sent funds and a progressive young woman named Laura Towne to teach former plantation slaves “habits of self-support” and to “elevate their moral and social condition.”

Towne was joined by Ellen Murray, a Northern Quaker. They settled on St. Helena Island, one of South Carolina’s largest sea islands. Their first class was held at Oaks Plantation with nine scholars. It soon expanded to The Brick Baptist Church, which survives today. Swelling enrollment and northern support enabled them to purchase land and build a separate three room school, the first in the South specifically created to teach freed slaves. The school was officially named Penn School, in tribute to the revered Quaker, William Penn. Its legacy continues today as Penn Center. 

Penn Center, with its 16 historic buildings—all registered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation—sits quietly on a rural side street on St. Helena Island. A carved post and sign commemorating the center’s 150 year anniversary, stands like a sentry at the entrance to the dusty grounds. There are cars in the gravel lot, but no other signs of people or activity. The first impression suggests an institution both venerable and gently wilted by time and financial struggle. 

Dr. Rodell Lawrence, Penn Center’s newly arrived executive director, may have the right formula of personal passion and corporate fund-raising expertise to infuse new vitality into the center’s grounds and physical structures and reinvigorate the Center’s purpose and future—a dose of human “miracle grow.” After a prestigious career with Xerox, Dr. Lawrence—who has Gullah roots in the Lowcountry—came out of retirement to be the eighth director of Penn Center. He has concrete plans for physically beautifying and modernizing the Center and strategic plans for fundraising. He describes his vision of brick walks, flower beds and architectural lighting to illuminate the ground’s massive oak trees at night with the same fervor as he talks about sustaining Penn Center as a living community center, offering adult literacy, child care and other services to the citizens of St. Helena. For over a decade, Penn Center has been a leader in the preservation, promotion and study of the Gullah culture in America and beyond. Dr. Lawrence intends to creatively finance the Center’s future through community support, major gift programs and endowments from corporations and foundations.

For the first 40 years of Penn School’s existence, Laura Towne and Ellen Murray taught according to the New England model of education, in which students in elementary school learned reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography and music. In the early 1900s two other northern white women—Rossa Cooley and Grace House—revised the schools curriculum and followed the Hampton or Tuskegee idea of “industrial education.” 

Classical studies, like algebra and Latin, were no longer offered. From the beginning, these well-intentioned white abolitionists, tried to “socialize” their African American students in accordance with euro-centric cultural values. Their devotion to the native islanders of St. Helena was unquestioned; still it reflected a paternalism that characterized the school’s white leadership until 1950. 

“Industrial education” didn’t mean learning to work in a factory, but prepared students to be “industrious” in practical endeavors. At Penn School it meant learning about farming, homemaking, health, finances, and debt avoidance. Women were taught domestic skills, presumably with the assumption that employment opportunities were primarily in domestic service.

In the mid 20th century, Penn Center again shifted focus. St. Helena’s cohesive and largely isolated population was changing. Two World Wars, bridges, electricity and migration of rural populations into American cities, altered the cultural isolation of the Sea Islands. Penn School, beleaguered by financial hardship, turned over its educational function to the public schools, which were substandard. In 1948 Penn School was redefined as Penn Community Services. The Penn Center Board of Trustees also changed, taken over by southern liberals interested in working with African Americans for racial equality.

Penn Center became a center and meeting place for interracial social activists—the only place in the south where segregated meetings were held without excessive legal and violent harassment. It was a safe haven and retreat for Martin Luther King, Jr. until his death in 1968. In recent decades, Penn Center took on a leadership position in land management and environmental sustainability on St. Helena. Starting in the late 1970s and 1980s corporate hotel chains and private developers bought huge tracks of ocean front and beach property on neighboring sea islands to build resorts (particularly Hilton Head) for thousands of northern retirees migrating south. Penn Center was instrumental in giving legal help and tax relief to native islanders in order to keep their land and retain free access to the beach areas.

Today Penn Center continues its leadership position in cultural preservation. For over a half-century, the Center has recognized that African Americans on St. Helena and along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor—established by Congress in 2006—have managed to keep their special identity, language, religious customs and African cultural heritage more than any other group of Black Americans. The York W. Bailey Museum, located in one of the historical buildings on the Penn Center grounds, and curated by Victoria Smalls, is a rich trove of artifacts and photographs that depict the history of Penn Center, as well as the Gullah Geechee history and the strong African cultural influences they’ve maintained. 

Karen Ward and Delores McBride, both St. Helena natives and employees at Penn Center, described growing up with community elders who only spoke Gullah. They knew adults who lived their entire lives without ever leaving St. Helena and they personally remember an old Gullah woman who lived near Penn Center and was known as “the storyteller.” There is still a street named Storyteller Road. Karen Ward recalled an occasion when Marine officers from Parris Island brought visiting African military dignitaries to Penn Center. A longtime caretaker at Penn Center—a man who’d never left St. Helena—was in deep conversation with a military officer from Kenya. He spoke Gullah, the officer spoke his native Kenyan dialect. They understood each other perfectly. “Nothing could have been a more powerful reminder of our people’s direct link to Africa,” she said. 

Penn Center has a long and distinguished history; its story and significance will continue into a far-reaching future.

For the most compelling and comprehensive history of Penn Center, please read: Penn Center: A History Preserved, by Orville Vernon Burton with Wilbur Cross

York W. Bailey Museum and Penn Center Gift Shop open 9-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday

This article originally appeared in the July 15 issue of Pink magazine.
[View original article in PDF format

Reconstruction Era National Monument

Reconstruction Era National Monument

Reconstruction Era National Monument 

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

January 12, 2017

Presidential Proclamations -- Establishment of the Reconstruction Era National Monument


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 The Reconstruction Era, a period spanning the early Civil War years until the start of Jim Crow racial segregation in the 1890s, was a time of significant transformation in the United States, as the Nation grappled with the challenge of integrating millions of newly freed African Americans into its social, political, and economic life.It was in many ways the Nation's Second Founding, as Americans abolished slavery and struggled earnestly, if not always successfully, to build a nation of free and equal citizens.During Reconstruction, Congress passed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth constitutional amendments that abolished slavery, guaranteed due process and equal protection under the law, and gave all males the ability to vote by prohibiting voter discrimination based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.Ultimately, the unmet promises of Reconstruction led to the modern civil rights movement a century later. 
 The Reconstruction Era began when the first United States soldiers arrived in slaveholding territories, and enslaved people on plantations and farms and in cities escaped from their owners and sought refuge with Union forces or in free states.This happened in November 1861 in the Sea Islands or "Lowcountry" of southeastern South Carolina, and Beaufort County in particular.Just seven months after the start of the Civil War, Admiral Samuel F. DuPont led a successful attack on Port Royal Sound and brought a swath of this South Carolina coast under Union control.The white residents (less than twenty percent of the population), including the wealthy owners of rice and cotton plantations, quickly abandoned their country plantations and their homes in the town of Beaufort as Union forces came ashore.More than 10,000 African Americans -- about one-third of the enslaved population of the Sea Islands at the time -- refused to flee the area with their owners. 
 Beaufort County became one of the first places in the United States where formerly enslaved people could begin integrating themselves into free society.While the Civil War raged in the background, Beaufort County became the birthplace of Reconstruction, or what historian Willie Lee Rose called a "rehearsal for Reconstruction."With Federal forces in charge of the Sea Islands, the Department of the Treasury, with the support of President Lincoln and the War Department, decided to turn the military occupation into a novel social experiment, known as the Port Royal Experiment, to help former slaves become self-sufficient.They enlisted antislavery and religious societies in the North to raise resources and recruit volunteers
for the effort.Missionary organizations headquartered in the Northeast established outposts in Beaufort County. 
 In and around Beaufort County during Reconstruction, the first African Americans enlisted as soldiers, the first African American schools were founded, early efforts to distribute land to former slaves took place, and many of the Reconstruction Era's most significant African American politicians, including Robert Smalls, came to prominence.African American political influence and land ownership endured there long after setbacks in other regions.In short, events and people from Beaufort County illustrate the most important challenges of Reconstruction -- crucial questions related to land, labor, education, and politics after the destruction of slavery -- and some early hopeful efforts to address them.The significant historical events that transpired in Beaufort County make it an ideal place to tell stories of experimentation, potential transformation, hope, accomplishment, and disappointment.In Beaufort County, including St. Helena Island, the town of Port Royal, and the city of Beaufort, many existing historic objects demonstrate the transformative effect of emancipation and Reconstruction. 

 Freed people hungered for education, as South Carolina had long forbidden teaching slaves to read and write.In 1862, Laura M. Towne and Ellen Murray from Pennsylvania were among the first northern teachers to arrive as part of the Port Royal Experiment.They established a partnership as educators at the Penn School on St. Helena Island that lasted for four decades.Charlotte Forten, a well-educated African American woman from a prominent abolitionist family in Philadelphia, joined the faculty later that year.The first classes for the former slaves were held at The Oaks plantation house, headquarters of the occupying U.S. military forces in the region.In 1863, Murray and Towne moved their school into Brick Church, a Baptist church near the center of the island.In the spring of 1864, supporters in Philadelphia purchased school buildings for Towne and Murray, and construction of Penn School began across the field from Brick Church on 50 acres of property donated by Hastings Gantt, an African American landowner. 
 Penn School helped many African Americans gain self-respect and self-reliance and integrate into free society.Towne and Murray strove to provide an education comparable to that offered in the best northern schools.The faculty also provided other support, including medical care, social services, and employment assistance.Penn School would evolve into the Penn Center in the 20th century, and remain a crucial place for education, community, and political organizing for decades to come.As a meeting place in the 1950s and 60s for civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, this historic place links the democratic aspirations of Reconstruction to those of the modern civil rights movement.Darrah Hall is the oldest standing structure on the site of the Penn School grounds.Students and community members built it around 1903, during the transition in the South from the Reconstruction Era to an era of racial segregation and political disenfranchisement. 
 The Brick Church where Towne and Murray held classes in 1863-64 is today the oldest church on St. Helena Island.Once freed from their owners, African Americans in Beaufort County
wanted to worship in churches and join organizations they controlled.The Brick Church -- also known as the Brick Baptist Church -- was built by slaves in 1855 for the white planters on St. Helena Island.When the white population fled from the Sea Islands in 1861, the suddenly freed African Americans made the church their own.The Brick Church has been a place of worship and gathering ever since, and continues to serve the spiritual needs of the community to this day. 
 Camp Saxton in Port Royal -- formerly the site of a plantation owned by John Joyner Smith -- is where the First South Carolina Regiment Volunteers mustered into the U.S. Army and trained from November 1862 to January 1863.In August 1862, U.S. Brigadier General Rufus Saxton, the military governor of the abandoned plantations in the Department of the South, received permission to recruit five thousand African Americans, mostly former slaves, into the Union Army.The former slaves assumed that military service would lead to rights of citizenship.Saxton selected Captain Thomas Wentworth Higginson of the 51st Massachusetts, a former Unitarian minister, abolitionist, and human rights activist, to command the regiment.An important ally of Higginson and the African American troops was Harriet Tubman, the famed conductor on the Underground Railroad, who in May of 1862 arrived in Beaufort as part of the Port Royal Experiment and who served skillfully as a nurse at Camp Saxton. 
 Camp Saxton was also the location of elaborate and historic ceremonies on January 1, 1863, to announce and celebrate the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in states then "in rebellion" against the United States.General Saxton himself had attended church services at the Brick Church in the fall of 1862 to recruit troops and to invite everyone, African American and white, "to come to the camp...on New Year's Day, and join in the grand celebration."This Emancipation Proclamation celebration was particularly significant because it occurred in Union-occupied territory in the South where the provisions of the Proclamation would actually take effect before the end of the war. 
 Over five thousand people, including freed men, women, and children, Union military officials, guest speakers, and missionary teachers, gathered around the speakers' platform built in a grove of live oaks near the Smith plantation house.One of the majestic witness trees has become known as the Emancipation Oak.Of all the prayers, hymns, and speeches during the three-hour ceremony, one of the most moving was the spontaneous singing of "My country, tis of thee; Sweet land of liberty" when the American flag was presented to Higginson.As part of the celebration, the military had prepared a feast of roasted oxen for all to enjoy. 
 The town of Beaufort was the center of the County's social, political, cultural, and economic life during the Reconstruction Era.Before the Battle of Port Royal Sound in November 1861, Beaufort was where the planters spent the summer months in their grand homes.Beaufort served as the depot for plantation supplies transported there by steamship.The Old Beaufort Firehouse, built around 1912, stands near the heart of Reconstruction Era Beaufort, across the street from the Beaufort Arsenal, and within walking distance of over fifty historic places.The Beaufort Arsenal, the location today of the
Beaufort History Museum, was built in 1799, rebuilt in 1852, and renovated by the Works Progress Administration in 1934, and served historically as the home of the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery Company that fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. 
 Several historic Beaufort properties within walking distance of the Firehouse are associated with Robert Smalls, the most influential African American politician in South Carolina during the Reconstruction Era.Robert Smalls was born in Beaufort in 1839, the son of slaves of the Henry McKee family.When Smalls was twelve years old, his owner hired him out to work in Charleston, where he learned to sail, rig, and pilot ships.In May 1862, Smalls navigated the CSS Planter, a Confederate ship, through Charleston harbor, past the guns of Fort Sumter, and turned it over to Union forces.This courageous escape made him an instant hero for the Union, and he soon began working as a pilot for the U.S. Navy.Smalls and his family used prize money awarded for the Planter to purchase the house in Beaufort once owned by the family that had owned him. 
 In 1864, Smalls was named to a delegation of African American South Carolinians to the Republican National Convention in Baltimore, where the delegation unsuccessfully petitioned the party to make African American enfranchisement part of its platform.Elected to the Beaufort County School Board in 1867, Smalls began his advocacy for education as the key to African American success in the new political and economic order. 
 In the years immediately following the end of the Civil War, the United States fiercely debated issues critical to Reconstruction.Southern Democrats tried to regain the power they held before the Civil War.The Republican majorities in the U.S. Congress rebuffed them, and proceeded to pass legislation and constitutional amendments to implement the principles of the Union victory.In 1867, Congress passed the Military Reconstruction Acts that called for military administration of southern states and new state constitutions.Voters elected Robert Smalls as a delegate to the South Carolina Constitutional Convention that met in Charleston in January 1868, where he successfully advocated for public education with compulsory attendance.The resulting constitution also provided for universal male suffrage and racial, political, and legal equality.In this new political order, Robert Smalls was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly from 1868 to 1874, first as a representative and then as a senator.In 1874, Smalls was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served five terms. 
 The success of Smalls and other African American lawmakers who had been enslaved only a handful of years before infuriated South Carolina's Democrats.Some of them turned to violence, carried out by the Ku Klux Klan and others.On more than one occasion, a homegrown vigilante group known as the Red Shirts terrorized Robert Smalls. 
 As a result of the contested Presidential and South Carolina gubernatorial elections of 1876, deals were made that effectively ended political and military Reconstruction in 1877.Smalls, however, continued to serve in Congress until 1886.He then returned to Beaufort, and served for many
years as the Presidentially appointed customs collector for the Port of Beaufort. 
 In 1895, Smalls was elected a delegate to his second South Carolina Constitutional Convention.Twenty years after Democrats had regained control of the State government, they had figured out how to take back African Americans' rights as citizens.Smalls spoke eloquently at the Convention against this blow to democracy and representative government, but ultimately rights hard won three decades before were struck down.South Carolina voters ratified a new constitution that effectively eliminated African Americans from electoral politics and codified racial segregation in law for decades to come. 
 Even as Jim Crow laws and customs limited political participation and access to public accommodations, African Americans maintained visions of freedom and built strong community institutions.Ownership of land, access to education, and churches and civic organizations that took root during the Reconstruction Era laid the foundation for the modern civil rights movement. 
 The many objects of historic interest described above stand testament to the formative role of the Reconstruction Era -- and the enormous contributions of those who made it possible -- in our shared history. 
 WHEREAS, section 320301 of title 54, United States Code (known as the "Antiquities Act"), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected;
 WHEREAS, the Beaufort National Historic Landmark District, which contains many objects of historic interest including the Old Beaufort Firehouse, was designated in 1973; and the Penn School National Historic Landmark District, which also contains many objects of historic interest including Darrah Hall and the Brick Baptist Church, was designated in 1974; 

 WHEREAS, the Camp Saxton Site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995; 
 WHEREAS, portions of the former Camp Saxton Site are located today on lands administered by the U.S. Department of the Navy at Naval Support Facility Beaufort, South Carolina; 
 WHEREAS, Penn Center, Inc., has donated to the United States fee title to Darrah Hall at Penn Center, St. Helena Island, South Carolina, with appurtenant easements, totaling approximately 3.78 acres of land and interests in land; 
 WHEREAS, Brick Baptist Church has donated to the United States a historic preservation easement in the Brick Baptist Church and associated cemetery located on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, an interest in land of approximately 0.84 acres;
 WHEREAS, the Paul H. Keyserling Revocable Trust and Beaufort Works, LLC, have donated to the United States fee title to the Old Beaufort Firehouse at 706 Craven Street, Beaufort, South Carolina, approximately 0.08 acres of land; 
 WHEREAS, the designation of a national monument to be administered by the National Park Service would recognize the historic significance of Brick Baptist Church, Darrah Hall, Camp Saxton, and the Old Beaufort Firehouse, and provide a national platform for telling the story of Reconstruction; 
 WHEREAS, it is in the public interest to preserve and protect these sites;
 NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 320301 of title 54, United States Code, hereby proclaim the objects identified above that are situated upon lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be the Reconstruction Era National Monument (monument) and, for the purpose of protecting those objects, reserve as a part thereof all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying map, which is attached to and forms a part of this proclamation.The reserved Federal lands and interests in lands encompass approximately 15.56 acres.The boundaries described on the accompanying map are confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
 All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries described on the accompanying map are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry, location, selection, sale, or other disposition under the public land laws, from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing.
 The establishment of the monument is subject to valid existing rights.If the Federal Government acquires any lands or interests in lands not owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying map, such lands and interests in lands shall be reserved as a part of the monument, and objects identified above that are situated upon those lands and interests in lands shall be part of the monument, upon acquisition of ownership or control by the Federal Government. 

 The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the monument through the National Park Service, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, consistent with the purposes and provisions of this proclamation.The Secretary of the Interior shall prepare a management plan within 3 years of the date of this proclamation, with full public involvement, and to include coordination with Penn Center, Inc., Brick Baptist Church, the Department of the Navy, Atlantic Marine Corps Communities, LLC, the City of Beaufort, and the Town of Port Royal.The management plan shall ensure that the monument fulfills the following purposes for the benefit of present and future generations:(1) to preserve and protect the objects of historic interest associated with the monument, and (2) to interpret the objects, resources, and values related to the Reconstruction Era.The management plan
shall, among other things, set forth the desired relationship of the monument to other related resources, programs, and organizations, both within and outside the National Park System.
 The Secretary of the Navy, or the Secretary of the Navy's designee, shall continue to have management authority over Department of the Navy lands within the monument boundary at the Camp Saxton site, including the authority to control access to these lands.The Secretaries of the Navy and the Interior shall enter into a memorandum of agreement that identifies and assigns the responsibilities of each agency related to such lands, the implementing actions required of each agency, and the processes for resolving interagency disputes. 
 The National Park Service is directed to use applicable authorities to seek to enter into agreements with others to address common interests and promote management efficiencies, including provision of visitor services, interpretation and education, establishment and care of museum collections, and preservation of historic objects. 
 Given the location of portions of the monument on an operating military facility, the following provisions concern U.S. Armed Forces actions by a Military Department, including those carried out by the United States Coast Guard: 
 1.Nothing in this Proclamation precludes the activities and training of the Armed Forces; however, they shall be carried out in a manner consistent with the care and management of the objects to the extent practicable.
 2.In the event of threatened or actual destruction of, loss of, or injury to a monument resource or quality resulting from an incident caused by a component of the Department of Defense or any other Federal agency, the appropriate Secretary or agency head shall promptly coordinate with the Secretary of the Interior for the purpose of taking appropriate action to respond to and mitigate the harm and, if possible, restore or replace the monument resource or quality. 
 3.Nothing in this proclamation or any regulation implementing it shall limit or otherwise affect the U.S. Armed Forces' discretion to use, maintain, improve, or manage any real property under the administrative control of a Military Department or otherwise limit the availability of such real property for military mission purposes. 
 Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the monument shall be the dominant reservation. 
 Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to alter the authority or responsibility of any party with respect to emergency response activities within the monument. 
 Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.
 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twelfth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first. 


The Penn Center Board of Trustees announces its new Executive Director

St. Helena Island, S.C.—The Penn Center Board of Trustees announces the hiring of Dr. Rodell Lawrence as the eighth Executive Director for the 153-year old Penn Center.

Dr. Rodell Lawrence was born in Apopka, Florida and has Gullah roots in the Lowcountry; his parents are Jasper County, S.C natives. He attended South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C., and majored in Electrical Engineering and minored in Mathematics. Lawrence left school in 1966, was drafted in the United States Army in 1967 and served in Vietnam. He returned to South Carolina State College in 1969, graduated in 1970. Lawrence received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from S.C. State College in 1992.

Lawrence’s first job was at North American Rockwell in Columbus, Ohio as a research engineer where he was credited with a United States patent for his work in the development of a cold gas actuation system for tactical missiles. He then took a job at Xerox Corporation as a test engineer. He spent 22 years at Xerox where he received 16 promotions. In 1990 he was recognized as one of the twenty best minds in the company and became part of its Think Tank for three years. This group was responsible for re-engineering the company and saved $1.2 billion in cost improvements. Lawrence also sat on the Xerox philanthropic board that gave $25-$30 million dollars a year to community agencies as well as colleges and universities. He was responsible for making sure Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) got their fair share. As a result $5-$6 million dollars was given each year to HBCUs such as S.C. State University, Florida A & M University, Atlanta University Center, Southern University, North Carolina A&T Universtiy, Tuskegee, Howard University and many others. As a development officer, he raised money for Claflin College’s $20 million Capital Campaign, Stillman College, Meharry Medical College, Georgia Southern University and South Carolina State University.

Dr. Lawrence has received numerous awards and recognitions for his service and has a special love for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

He is married to Cedar (Evans) Lawrence and they have five adult children: Christopher, Debora, Ashlyn, Biram, and Raegena.

Dr. Rodell Lawrence’s vision for Penn Center is clear, steadfast and promising. He plans to shape Penn Center’s future by setting a framework for its sustainability, preserving the unique history, culture and environment of the Sea Islands and by sharing Penn Center’s resources locally, nationally, and internationally.