Penn Center Heritage Days: Symposium: ‘Slavery by Another Name’

In honor of the 150th Anniversary founding of Penn School and the 30th Annual Heritage Days Celebration, Penn Center presents its Heritage Symposium “Slavery by Another Name, The Discussion” on November 9.  The Discussion takes a deep dive into the subject matter of Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.” “Slavery by Another Name” is a historical  rendering that presents evidence that slavery in the United States did not end with the Civil War, but continued with the forced labor of imprisoned African American men and women through the convict lease system used by Southern states, local governments, white farmers and corporations.

After the Civil War, white Southerners moved quickly to eliminate African American people’s newfound freedom.  They wanted to return African American, in effect, to their prewar status as slaves.  In order to do this “legally,” they passed new laws that appeared, on the surface, to be neutral and fair to all races.  In actuality however, these laws were designed specifically to repress African American people.

At first these laws were called Black Codes, but because of their deceptive nature, they eventually came to be known as the Jim Crow Laws.  Jim Crow was the name of a character in minstrel shows that featured white actors in “black face,” or black make-up. Because of this, the name Jim Crow represented the fact that Black Codes were based on racial disguise.

Symposium guests will view the  PBS documentary film based on “Slavery by Another Name” directed by filmmaker Sam Pollard. The documentary aired in February 2012 and attracted an audience of 4.8 million viewers. Expert panelists for The Discussion will be artist Robert Claiborne Morris of “Slavery by Another Name Paintings and Assemblages,” who resides in Savannah; Dr. Robert Chase, Public Historian at the Avery Institute for Afro-American History and Culture in Charleston; Dr. Marcus  Cox, Professor of History at The  Citadel, in Charleston; and moderated by St. Helena Island native and Penn Center’s own Victoria Smalls.

“Slavery by Another Name, The Discussion” and the art exhibition are must-see events during the 30th Annual Heritage Days. Penn Center invites the public to attend these events which are powerful, soul stirring and thought provoking.  The 40-piece collection “Slavery by Another Name Paintings and Assemblages” by Robert Morris will open at the York W. Bailey Museum November 8 with “Meet the Artist” reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

The symposium will take place at St. Helena Elementary School’s  Gymnasium on Thursday, November 9 beginning with breakfast and viewing documentary at 8:30 a.m. and with the discussion following. Tickets are on sale.

For more information, please visit www.penncenter.com or call 843-838-2432.


• Call For Heritage Days Volunteers: Penn Center is seeking the assistance of additional dedicated volunteers in various capacities and times on November 8-10. All who are interested should contact Victoria Smalls at Penn Center 843-838-2432.

• The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will conduct an outreach workshop on Friday, November 9, at Penn Center. Registration is free and the event will begin with lunch at noon. The workshop is being co-hosted with Minority Landowner Magazine and the Penn Center. The meeting will showcase the premiere of a documentary film, “St. Helena — a Better Place,” which was produced by SC NRCS and the University of South Carolina. Registration is required by November 2, call 843-838-2432 or 919-215-1632.

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