The first “official” session was the following day, January 7th, at USCB with 33 eager participants ready to gain knowledge of the history of the area north of the Broad River with special emphasis on the pre-Civil War cotton economy and the first effort to incorporate freed slaves into the American society. The Oaks plantation on St. Helena Island was generously opened to the participants to broaden their understanding of plantation life. The Oaks, a premier waterfront event venue on Chowan Creek was built in 1855. The Oaks was the founding location of the Penn Normal School.
The plantation, Tombee, is now privately owned by, Mr. Sydney Snelgrove, who graciously offered the grounds open to the class for further understanding of the cotton culture and island life as explained by Dr. Rosengarten.