Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately


March 26

I went into the post office at a place called Seabrook and asked the white man working there if he knew of a town named Seabrook Village where blacks had settled after the war.  And he said, lady, the whole place was settled by black people. We were on St. Helena Island, in SC, one of the Gullah Islands, islands inhabited by ex-slaves from Sierra Leone mostly. On St. Helena Island we found a restaurant called Gullah Grub that looked like someone’s house and I ate fried soft shell crab. We bought in beers from the filling station next door. The Union army occupied the islands at the beginning of the war, but they weren’t always heroes about it. Down the road from Gullah Grub, we found The Penn Center where ex-slaves went to school, where people worked to protect land rights for local blacks and where Martin Luther King Jr. once lived. At Penn Center there is a museum and conference rooms, houses, and there is a church built by black men when they were still slaves. There is a garden and there are big trees. We walked all around the grounds. So peaceful and humbling.

Categories: schools, travel

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