Program depicts the ‘Labors’ of enslaved African-Americans

Trampas Alderman For The Union Daily Times

September 12, 2013

UNION — The daily “Labors” of enslaved African-Americans was part of a special interactive presentation at Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site.

On Saturday, Sept. 7, roughly 50 visitors to Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site enjoyed learning some of the history of the enslaved African-Americans at the plantation. Participating in interactive exhibits, attendees to the program“Labors,” experienced the daily work performed by 178 enslaved people at Rose Hill. Duties like candle making, brick making, weaving and food preparation were on display.

In addition, Kitty Wilson-Evans, a well-known interpreter of slave life, spoke on topics ranging from traditional medicine to her experiences as an interpreter. She also recounted her experiences walking a section of dirt road once used as part of the Underground Railroad. Passing around a stone picked up from that road, Ms. Wilson-Evans asked children to remember it when they studied the Underground Railroad in school.

Just across the yard from Ms. Wilson-Evans, Tyrie Rowell presented “Cato,” an enslaved brick maker. He showed visitors how to make bricks while telling of the labor required of the enslaved brick maker, 15-20 bricks a minute was the norm.

Throughout the event the smell of smoke beckoned visitors to the site’s historic kitchen where food preparations were demonstrated. On the menu was peanut soup and fresh baked bread.

“This is the first time presenting this program and we are very happy with the turnout today,” said Trampas Alderman, Park Manager. “Visitors also seemed to be very pleased with the event as well.”

Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site is the antebellum home of South Carolina’s “secession governor,” William H. Gist. Visitors to the 44-acre park can learn about the lifestyle of a wealthy Upstate plantation family, Gist’s contributions to politics, and the importance of cotton in the South. Visitors also get an inside look at the role of enslaved African-Americans and tenant farmers in South Carolina’s history.

Normal hours of operation: Park grounds are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. year round. The mansion home is only accessible by guided tour. Tours are held March-October, daily at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Winter tours are from November-February and are scheduled Thursday-Monday at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. The grounds at Rose Hill Plantation may be rented for weddings and other events. The park is located eight miles south of Union.

The South Carolina State Park Service is a program of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, a state agency that serves as the leading marketing organization for South Carolina tourism. SCPRT also operates 47 state parks and administers federal and state grants for recreational development.

Trampas Alderman is the manager for the Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site.