32nd Annual Heritage Days Celebration: Penn Center hosts three-day event

The 32nd Annual Heritage Days Celebration is fun-filled Gullah Geechee homecoming — enriched by the historical significance of Penn Center, natural beauty of St. Helena Island and surrounding Beaufort County. Witness the Africanisms in language, basketry, storytelling, net-making, spirituality and food-ways. This year’s theme is “Penn’s Promise: Legacy, Literacy and Land.”

Heritage Days 11-6Friday, Nov. 7, Youth Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Heritage Symposium will be at Darrah Hall at 3 p.m. to discuss “Penn Center: A History Preserved,” a new book release in celebration of Penn Center’s 150th Anniversary. Friday night there will be a fish fry and a Juke Joint Jam from 6 to 10 p.m.

On Saturday, Nov. 8, the Heritage Parade will begin at 9 a.m. There will be live entertainment including storytellers, performers and music from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. At night, the Soul Slide Dance for adults kicks off at 8 p.m.

Penn Center National Historic Landmark District, founded as Penn School in 1862, was the first school in the South for formerly enslaved West Africans and became an international model for rural education and self-sufficiency. Today, Penn is one of the epi-centers for the study of Gullah Geechee culture and history.

Penn Center is located at 16 Penn Center Circle West, St. Helena Island, SC, 29920. For detailed information about Heritage Days events, call 843-838-2432, email info@penncenter.com or visit www.penncenter.com.


THE ROAD OF REMEMBRANCE: In celebration of Penn Center’s Heritage Days, the theatrical production “The Road of Remembrance” will take place at the Frissell Community House, Thursday, November 6, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A wonderful mix of student actors, musicians and singers, from elementary through high school, will share this original and innovative production that explores, models and promotes the values of Penn School students and celebrates the beauty of Gullah life from 1862-1948.  Admission at the door is Adults $5, Students $3, Free for children 6 and under. Don’t miss the beauty of Gullah children today sharing with the community their own deep-rooted history.


‘Cumbyah’ spiritual will be at USCB Center for Arts

The University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts delivers a cap note performance in partnership with Penn Center’s 32nd Heritage Days Celebration with a spiritual on its stage on Sunday, November 9, at 3 p.m.

The event will showcase St. Helena Island soloists featured in the newly released CD, “GULLAH: Voice of an Island” and the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters of Georgia.

Dr. Marlena Smalls will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for this activity. She is the founder and director of the nationally known Hallelujah Singers which she founded in 1990 to preserve the Gullah culture in the South Carolina Sea Islands.

Admission to this performance requires a ticket purchase. The cost to attend is $20 adults; $18 seniors; $10 for students under 18 years old.

Information about other programs can be found online at www.uscbcenterforthearts.com. Tickets can be ordered online or by calling the box office at 843-521-4145.

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