Drayton Cemetery, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County

Mitchelville was the first town built for newly freedmen and women in 1862 after Hilton Head fell to Union troops in 1861. The town was named for Union general, Ormsby Mitchel, who set up this town with roads, churches, and homes.

Drayton Cemetery is another Gullah Cemetery connects directly to those original freed men and women, as it is believed this cemetery started before the start of the Civil War.

It features several markers of members of the United States Colored Infantry.

It is cared for by the congregation at St. James Baptist Church.

Based on her age, Louisa Small experienced slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the retaliation against Reconstruction.
An interesting funeral wreath

Joe Pope Cemetery, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County

Founded in the mid to late 1800s, Joe Pope Cemetery is one of several Gullah cemeteries on Hilton Head Island. The land is owned by the Queen’s Chapel AME Church, but it is maintained by the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.

Benjamin Singleton, 1906-1947
Ben Singleton, 1857-1928. Notice the three linked chains which commonly represents the Odd Fellows and for fidelity, love, and truth. He was likely an Odd Fellow.
Viola Mitchel, 1905-1958

Braddock’s Point Cemetery, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, Beaufort County

Flanked by condos and one of the many golf courses on Hilton Island is an historic cemetery called Braddock’s Point Cemetery. While the earliest death date on a marker is during the Civil War, it is believed this also served as a burial ground for the people held in bondage at the nearby Braddock Point Plantation.

One of the burial practices with the Gullah Geechee people is to bury their loved ones with personal items. Sometimes it is the last dish they used, or another object of importance. Braddock’s Point Cemetery illustrates older and more modern interpretations of this practice.

My assumption is that there was a plate in this grave marker that was lost over time.
This marker is one that I’ve seen repeated in several coastal cemeteries.
One of the few markers with a corresponding footstone.
A more modern take of using plates and seashells

Euhaw Baptist Church, South Carolina

Grahamville, Jasper County

From the historical marker, “Established on Edisto Island about 1686 by Scotch dissenters, this is the second oldest Baptist organization in the South. For many years a branch of First Baptist Church in Charleston, Euhaw declared itself a separate church in 1745 after relocating to this vicinity from Edisto Island. A sanctuary was built 6 mi. NE in 1751; it burned in 1857. The first sanctuary on this site was built in 1860. It burned in 1904 and was replaced by the sanctuary in 1906, which is still used for occasional services. The present sanctuary nearby was built in 1982.”

The church was built for the wealthy planters who used Grahamville as a summer home. The sanctuary was built to hold over a 1000 people, most of those seats being taken by the enslaved people of the church members.

Gifford Rosenwald School, South Carolina

Gifford, Hampton County

Built in 1920 for $3250, this two-teacher type schools was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. There is a current fundraising campaign to restore the school.

Hampton Colored School, South Carolina

Hampton, Hampton County

Built in 1929, it served as the only Black school in Hampton until the high school was built in 1947. It then served as the lunchroom for the new high school.

It now serves the community as a Black history museum. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Lovett House, Georgia

Sardis, Screven County

This is the view that caught my attention drive g down the road. No one else may see this, but I was reminded of one side of the House of Seven Gables.

The Lovetts have businesses that still carry their name, and a cemetery that is located less from where this house stands.

First McCanaan Baptist Church, Georgia

Sardis, Burke County

The Old McCanaan Missionary Baptist Church, now the First McCanaan Baptist Church, was founded in 1875. Many of the founding members were sharecroppers from the nearby Millhaven Plantation. It served as a spiritual gathering place the Black men and women of the area. The first building for the church was lost due to fire. By 1912, the new building was erected, which the congregation still uses today.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 for as an excellent example of Gothic Revival in a rural Southern church.

Noah’s Ark Baptist Church, Georgia

Keysville, Burke County

Noah’s Ark Baptist Church was organized in 1864 in Burke County, Georgia. It was one of the founding churches for newly freedmen and women in Burke County. Starting under a brush arbor, the congregation moved into a tenant located near where their current church building stands.

Noah Smith donated land to build the first church. after the first two buildings were destroyed by wind and fire, They moved to their following location, where two more buildings were built. The building above was built in 1883 at a cost of $1900. It was in use until 2006. The congregation is now active at a new sanctuary.

This is a common headstone seen in Black church cemeteries throughout Burke and Jefferson counties.
An interesting marker in the cemetery.
An outside view of one of the windows
A view through a broken window shows the state of the church with more than a decade of being unused.

Ma Rainey, Georgia

Columbus, Muscogee County

Gertrude “Ma” Rainey Pridgett (1886-1939) is considered the “Mother of Blues.” Columbus, Georgia was her home which is where she was born.

She started performing by the age of 14 and began touring as part of vaudeville and minstrel shows. Known for her dynamic performances, Ma Rainey made a name for herself as she toured the country.

The Ma Rainey house, now a museum, was the home that Ma purchased for her mother and where she moved into upon her return to Columbus. Initially, the home was the typical shotgun that can still be seen in the neighborhood, but Rainey had a new two-story home built. She lived there until her death in 1939. The house was saved from demolition by neglect by committed Columbus preservationists. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1992.

Ma Rainey rests in Porterdale Cemetery, which was once known as the Colored Cemetery. It was put on the NRHP in 1980.

Opened in 1924, the Liberty Theatre was a segregated theatre that hosted Ma Rainey and other Black artists. Rainey eventually purchased the theater. It was put on the NRHP in 1984.

Alma Thomas’s Childhood Home, Georgia

Columbus, Muscogee County

Alma Thomas (1891-1978) was a Black artist known for her colorful and impressionist work. Born in Columbus, Georgia, she and her family lived there until she was sixteen. In 1907, they relocated to Washington, DC to escape the racial hostility and threats of violence that were directed towards the Black community at the hands of whites.

She was considered a member of the Washington School of Color. A lifelong art teacher, she was the first graduate of the art department at Howard University.

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
The Eclipse

Suggested books

Painter and Educator

Alma Thomas Children Book

Zion Episcopal Church, Georgia

Talbotton, Talbot County

Built in 1848 and consecrated in 1853, the Zion Episcopal Church in Talbotton, Georgia was recently restored. This carpenter gothic style church served as a congregation for a planter class of families who had relocated from the coast.

Like many antebellum churches, the church was built with a slave gallery that still lines the upper perimeter of the church. The doors were locked, so I was unable to document the inside.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The backside of the church as viewed from the road
Marker for Elizabeth Margaret White, 1813-1850
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