African American News and Genealogy

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ex-slaves' story told in movie

The Associated Press HILTON HEAD ISLAND - James Henderson stumbled across the state's first village for freed slaves while looking for the beach one day. But the story of Mitchelville grabbed him so that he felt he had to tell it on film. His short documentary "Remnants of Mitchelville" will be shown this week as part of the Native Islander Gullah Celebration. The film started out as a 15-minute documentary, but Henderson added five more minutes as he discovered new material since first releasing the film. The project began when Henderson was a graduate student at the University of South Carolina. He spotted a historical marker while looking for the beach in Hilton Head Island. "The marker itself doesn't say much," said Henderson, who is now the media services director in the university's art department. "The story just wouldn't let me go. The story itself seemed suited for a movie." Mitchelville was established in the 1860s by Union troops who occupied Hilton Head, but it was built and run by former slaves. Located on the shores of Port Royal Sound, the village had as many as 1,500 residents at its peak. Very little history is written on the site. Henderson had to rely on old newspaper articles, written accounts from visiting ministers and personal stories. Full Story:


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