College of Charleston unveils new pavilion paying tribute to indigenous and enslaved people

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A new solar powered pavilion at the College of Charleston is honoring the indigenous and enslaved people of the Lowcountry.

“We owe much to the people who came before us and we honor them today by acknowledging their contributions and their ongoing impact,” said College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu.

In the spring of 2021, students and faculty found a slave tag during an archeological dig to prepare for the pavilion’s construction.

The finding brought a new meaning to the project as students and faculty researched the lives of enslaved people in the surrounding area.

“This is a kitchen, this is a dwelling, this is a gathering space. Black folks lived here, white folks lived here, enslaved folks lived here, free people of color lived here,” said Associate Professor Grant Gilmore.

Now the pavilion is a place that provides solar power, a shady studying spot and a way learn about Charleston’s history. Scanning a QR code on the pavilion opens a link to a history of the people who lived in the surrounding blocks of Coming Street.

“The names of persons enslaved who likely lived and worked on this block include July, Charity, Cary, Charles, Morris, Bob, Johnathan, Dianna, Isaac, Judy, William Lambert, who was a laborer, and Paul Samson, who was a driver,” said Reverend Leondra Stoney.

The unveiling also recognizing the contributions of the indigenous tribes who lived in the Lowcountry including the Etiwan, Kiawah, Santee, Edisto, Nachez-Kusso and Wassamassaw people.

“We acknowledge and honor all of the indigenous peoples who lived labored and were faithful stewards of the land,” said Edisto and Nachez-Kusso Tribe Elder Cathy Nelson.

President Hsu using the opening of the pavilion to impact the College of Charleston’s future by educating people on Charleston’s history.

“Out of a dark chapter in Charleston’s story I’m proud to say now that we bring light. Light and power that are sustainable. Light and power that support our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Hsu.

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