Stanford University Talisman

A performance to preserve history

Stanford University Talisman to perform at Penn Center to support Gantt Cottage and Civil Rights Museum.

The Penn Center National Historic Landmark District welcomes the Stanford Talisman an a cappella group from Stanford University who will perform in concert on Thursday, March 26th at 6:30 p.m. as a fundraiser for the historic site.

Stanford University Talisman
Stanford University Talisman

The Talisman, founded over 25 years ago, is an exploration of substantive, cultural music. Composed solely of college students, this Stanford group brings together human stories of struggle, triumph, and solidarity through rich and vibrant song. The group has toured across California, the East Coast, and South Africa cultivating lasting relationships and sharing meaningful experiences with their audiences and collaborators. In addition to having the privilege of working with prominent South African gospel groups, such as the Soweto Gospel Choir and the Imilonji Kantu Choral Society, Talisman has also had the honor of performing at the White House, the Olympics, and Carnegie Hall.

The concert will serve as a fund/friend- raiser event to support the renovation of Gantt Cottage which will serve as a Civil Rights Museum on Penn Center’s 50-acre historic campus. The original Gantt Cottage was named after formerly enslaved Hastings Gantt, who donated the original tract of land for the Penn School. Hastings Gantt was a business man and politician, who served in the South Carolina Legislature as a representative from Beaufort during the Reconstruction era. Hastings Gantt was an inspiration to landowners and land toiler alike. The original cottage was destroyed by fire around 1940. The current cottage, built by Penn School students, is a replacement.

Two decades later, the Gantt Cottage was utilized as a residence and respite for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, during his numerous visits to Penn Center in the 1960’s with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Penn Center was one of only two sites in the South where multi-racial groups could meet at a time of de facto and de jure segregation. Dr. King found the Penn Center’s campus a pleasant, suitable location to visit, rest, and work.

Recently, volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort (UUFB) have committed to providing service to Penn Center and are assisting with much needed restorations to the exterior of Gantt Cottage. Penn Center is grateful for the support from the UUFB and to the Stanford University Talisman for providing this wonderful fund/friend raising opportunity.

The public is cordially invited to attend the Stanford University Talisman concert on Thursday, March 26th at 6:30 p.m. in Frissell Community House at the historic Penn Center located at 16 Penn Center Circle West, St. Helena Island. Admission for the concert is: $5/Adult, $3/Youth (Ages 17-13) and Free/ Ages 12 & Under. Donations are greatly appreciated, and can be made payable to Penn Center, Inc. and earmarked for the Gantt Cottage as Penn Center attempts to reach its goal of $25,000. Penn Center, Inc. is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission to promote and preserve the history and culture of the Sea Islands.

For more information regarding the Talisman concert and ways to support the Gantt Cottage and the Civil Rights Museum at Penn Center, please contact Victoria Smalls, Director of History, Art & Culture (843) 838-2432 or email:

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