Program will take an in-depth look at life of blacks at Redcliffe

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A Black History Month program called the African-American Experience at Redcliffe looks at the lives of blacks who worked at the plantation, which was owned by the Hammond family until the early 1900s.

"This expands from Christmas in the Quarters - (which) focused on slavery," said Trampas Alderman, the park interpreter at Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site. "Not only were there four generations of Hammonds, there were four more generations of African-Americans who lived here."

Christmas in the Quarters gives an overview of what the holiday was like for slaves. Gov. James Henry Hammond, who built Redcliffe in 1859, kept detailed records of life on the estate, and much of the Christmas program is based on those records.

The new program will cover a longer time period - from the 1860s to close to the 1950s.

Redcliffe's last private owner was John Shaw Billings, who lived in New York City. Correspondence between Mr. Billings and the estate's caretaker are part of the records at the site.

The letters provide a glimpse into life at the plantation, which was donated to South Carolina in 1973, Mr. Alderman said.

Though the African-American Experience at Redcliffe is an annual program, there will be new information this year.

In 2006, some of the servants' descendants visited the site and told Mr. Alderman stories he will use in his presentation.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.

IF YOU GO

What: The African-American Experience at Redcliffe

When: 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 10

Where: Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site, 181 Redcliffe Road, Beech Island

Cost: $6 adults, $5.25 for South Carolina seniors 65 and older, $4 children 6-16

Telephone: (803) 827-1473


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