Over 150 years after its founding, the Penn Center continues to inspire through its legacy of promoting freedom through education. In the above photo, a class visits in 2012.
“This place will let you know, as you walk through with the Spanish moss hanging, that something happened here.”
—Emory Campbell on the Penn Center
On February 13, Bank Street’s Pemberton Society celebrated Black History Month with an event honoring Emory Campbell, who delivered a talk on “Penn Center: A Distinctive Change Agent for Freedom, From Emancipation Day to Present.”
Pemberton Society founder Lucia Henley Jack with Emory Campbell
Campbell is Director Emeritus of the Penn Center, a national historic landmark and the site of one of the earliest schools for freed slaves. The Penn Center works to preserve the legacy of Gullah culture—descendents of slaves living in the coastland and island communities of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.
He is currently the President of Gullah Heritage Consulting Services, through which he furthers cultural awareness of the Gullah legacy.
This Place is Eyewitness to History
“Penn Center has always been focused on freedom,” Campbell said.
“When you visit, you’ll see a beautiful campus of 21 structures—very significant structures. Some of them were houses that civil rights workers lived in, but before then, where people went to school, and where they lived while going to school. This place is eyewitness to history. When Laura Towne and Ellen Murray founded this place, they found people who were yearning for education. And they had no idea that it would be like