Daufuskie Island History Weekend

DIHF History Day

On the weekend of September 25-26 Haig Point and the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation will again host Joseph McGill, Jr., founder of The Slave Dwelling Project. The Project is dedicated to the identification/preservation of former slave quarters and to delivering the message “that the people who lived in these structures were not a footnote in American history.” McGill has taken upon himself to sleep in as many extant former slave dwellings as he is able to identify. As he did last year, he plans to sleep Friday night within the walls of a Haig Point tabby ruin. But that is not all…

On Friday, September 25, Joe McGill will start the day by meeting with students from the Daufuskie Island Elementary School. This will be followed by his touring the tabby ruins and other Haig Point historic sites with two groups of 8th grade students from the Hilton Head Middle School. McGill will speak to the students about the importance of preserving slave dwellings, as well as recount some of his adventures as a civil war re-enactor.

Friday evening there will be Dinner under the Tent on the lawn by the Haig Point tabby ruins. A Lowcountry menu is planned, with special guest Sallie Ann Robinson and Haig Point Chef Jim McLain demonstrating Gullah cooking. Joe McGill will speak after dinner – recounting progress made by his Slave Dwelling Project, including receiving a significant grant to identify slave dwellings in South Carolina. The cost of the dinner is $20.00. Reservations are necessary and may be made by calling the Haig Point Reservation Line at 843-341-8150.

After a dinner McGill will bed down for the night in one of the tabby slave ruins at Haig Point. He has invited up to 25 people to join him under the stars for the night. Space will be filled on a first come first served basis. Reservations may be made by contacting Eileen Pojednic at 843-842-6770 or erpojednic@aol.com. A donation to the Slave Dwelling Project is requested for those spending the night.

The following day, Saturday, September 26, Haig Point and the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation invite the public to celebrate the history of the island, and in particular that of Haig Point, with a walking tour of four significant sites in Haig Point: the tabby ruin slave quarters, the Haig Point Lighthouse, the Haig’s Point slave/Gullah cemetery and the Strachan Mansion. In addition, this year there is offered an optional bus tour to additional historic sites on the island: The First Union African Baptist Church, The Mary Fields School, The Frances Jones Home, and the DIHF’s Billie Burn Museum Complex.

Joe McGill will be on site in Haig Point Saturday to share stories about the Slave Dwelling Project. A special guest will be Tom Bass, Construction Manager for International Paper during the entire development of HP and who was responsible in 1985 for the barging and restoration of the Strachan Mansion and the restoration of the HP Lighthouse. He will be on the porch of the Lighthouse with many stories to tell. Additional special guests will be Sallie Ann Robinson; Preservation Architect Colin Brooker, who worked on the 1985 Lighthouse restoration and the tabby ruins restoration project in 2014; and Rick Wightman, the skilled craftsman who executed the tabby restoration.

The cost for off-islanders for History Day, which includes ferry transportation from Haig Point Embarkation on Hilton Head, the Haig Point walking tour and a festive lunch, is $65 ($55 before September 5). There is an additional charge of $20 for those taking the bus tour of sites outside Haig Point (limited to 80 participants). Daufuskie Island residents may access Haig Point via the Haig Point South Gate with an admission charge of $25, which includes the walking tour of Haig Point and lunch. For reservations call Haig Point at 1-800-686-3441. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation.

Saturday night Joe McGill will meet with Mike Bedenbaugh, Executive Director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, and spend the night in the Frances Jones Home, recently restored by the Trust’s Endangered Places Program. Although not a slave dwelling, the core of the building is thought to have been built soon after the Civil War by freedmen.

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