The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

city

Emory Campbell

Cultural heritage chief executive and author Emory Shaw Campbell was born on October 11, 1941 on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. He attended elementary school on Hilton Head Island. Campbell travelled to the nearby city of Bluffton, South Carolina to attend Michael C. Riley High School where he graduated as class valedictorian in 1960. He received his B.A. degree in biology in 1965 from Savannah State College, and in 1971, he earned his M.A. degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Campbell served as the Director of Community Service Education at the Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services in Ridgeland, South Carolina for ten years before becoming Director of the Penn Center on St. Helena Island in 1980. The historic Penn Center, which opened in the 1800s to educate freed slaves, serves as a center to preserve the history and heritage of the Island.

During his tenure at the Penn Center, Campbell spearheaded efforts to create a family connection between the Gullah people and the people of Sierra Leone in West Africa. In 1988, he hosted Sierra Leone President Joseph Momoh at the Penn Center for the Gullah reunion and became an Honorary Paramount Chief in 1989 when he led the historic Gullah Reunion to Sierra Leone. A documentary of these two events has been produced for South Carolina Educational Television.

Campbell’s work to preserve the Gullah culture has led him to write several publications one of which is "Gullah Cultural Legacies." He also worked on a project to translate the New Testament of the Bible into the Gullah language. In 2005, he received the Carter G. Woodson Memorial for outstanding work. He retired from the Penn Center in 2002 and is the President of Gullah Heritage Consulting Services.

Campbell lives on Hilton Head Island with his wife, Emma. They have two adult children, Ochieng and Ayoka.

Emory Shaw Campbell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 30, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.035

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/30/2007

Last Name

Campbell

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Shaw

Schools

Michael C. Riley High School

Savannah State University

Tufts University

Spanish Wells School

Robinson Junior High School

First Name

Emory

Birth City, State, Country

Hilton Head Island

HM ID

CAM08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cities

Favorite Quote

That's Great.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

10/11/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hilton Head Island

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Rice, Nuts

Short Description

Cultural heritage chief executive Emory Campbell (1941 - ) was the Director of the Penn Center on St. Helena Island, South Carolina. He led the Gullah Reunion to Sierra Leone in West Africa.

Employment

Harvard University School of Public Health

Process Research, Inc.

Bromley-Health Community Centers

Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.

Penn Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1440,32:2790,58:8696,144:9242,152:13688,232:17042,301:22736,408:34641,586:42404,660:45242,707:50660,811:52380,850:52810,862:53240,868:56938,943:57798,1021:68266,1106:106022,1585:106427,1591:106994,1600:107318,1605:110550,1639:118850,1780:121138,1812:123762,1883:124172,1889:129502,1982:129830,1987:136018,2035:136402,2040:136882,2047:140722,2101:141106,2106:145810,2169:150260,2208$0,0:1425,23:1805,28:4275,113:15588,234:18100,240:18364,245:18628,250:18958,256:19288,262:19618,268:21070,303:25055,340:25355,345:25730,351:26255,360:26555,365:28130,400:28730,409:40770,633:47078,747:47382,752:52428,794:53004,808:53964,825:54476,834:57610,880:57818,885:58078,891:58546,903:59222,920:59898,939:65398,1015:65934,1025:66671,1042:68861,1062:69491,1077:69743,1082:80672,1248:82344,1278:82800,1284:89670,1332:90134,1337:95301,1378:95657,1383:96102,1389:98620,1421:99880,1449:100440,1459:104300,1479:107094,1497:107622,1504:109030,1526:110350,1543:110702,1548:111230,1555:114640,1566:115208,1575:115847,1587:116202,1593:116699,1611:120320,1714:120675,1720:125824,1796:129640,1897:129928,1903:130864,1924:131368,1932:132088,1947:132520,1954:138230,2011:144918,2091:147798,2144:148278,2150:151725,2185:152025,2190:153075,2209:154275,2259:160990,2364:171442,2527:171770,2532:173902,2631:175706,2682:176198,2689:179338,2703:182630,2743:183910,2769:185350,2803:192695,2882:193700,2925:194102,2932:197657,3006:198083,3013:198367,3018:198651,3023:199006,3029:199645,3039:200213,3049:200781,3058:201207,3066:201562,3072:201917,3078:202343,3086:202627,3091:203550,3121:203834,3126:204331,3134:211860,3219:215222,3284:217600,3335:219402,3349:221925,3373:222201,3382:229308,3526:230067,3540:233310,3615:239160,3680:240536,3699:240966,3705:241310,3713:246398,3790:246763,3796:249492,3838:249748,3843:250068,3849:252564,3899:258730,3960:259400,3984:260271,4022:260539,4027:273642,4191:274278,4198:287647,4360:295490,4438:296030,4448:296330,4465:296750,4473:297170,4482:302068,4540:303608,4563:306534,4637:314190,4714
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Emory Campbell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell remembers fishing with his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell describes his family's land

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell recalls lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Emory Campbell describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Emory Campbell describes his maternal family's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Emory Campbell describes his paternal relatives' careers

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Emory Campbell lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell talks about his youngest brother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell describes the community on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell remembers his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell recalls the Spanish Wells School on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell remembers Robinson Junior High School on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell recalls his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Emory Campbell recalls listening to the radio as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Emory Campbell remembers Michael C. Riley High School in Bluffton, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Emory Campbell describes his chores

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell talks about the terms Geechee and Gullah

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell describes the Gullah food traditions

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell talks about the Gullah religion

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell describes the founding of Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell talks about the Gullah language

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell recalls attending Michael C. Riley High School in Bluffton, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell recalls his early experiences of racial discrimination, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Emory Campbell recalls his early experiences of racial discrimination, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Emory Campbell remembers his community's self-sufficiency

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell describes the Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell remembers the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell remembers the Civil Rights Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell remembers moving to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell describes his research at the Harvard School of Public Health

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell describes his decision to attend Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell remembers researching pesticides in the Mississippi Delta

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell recalls his experiences in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell recalls working at the Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell recalls the Gullah translation of the Bible

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell describes the Penn Center on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell remembers visiting West Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell describes the publications on the Gullah culture

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Emory Campbell describes his hopes for the Gullah people, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Emory Campbell describes his hopes for the Gullah people, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Emory Campbell talks about the changes in the Gullah culture

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Emory Campbell reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Emory Campbell shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Emory Campbell describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Emory Campbell narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Emory Campbell describes the Gullah food traditions
Emory Campbell recalls the Gullah translation of the Bible
Transcript
What are some of the traditions that you, you're speaking about that are the same?$$Well, I told you about the cousins. You know your fortieth cousins because you, you live in the same land, and so you stay connected, and, and you keep those lineage. And then, then living on an island, it's almost like the old African tribes so you, you're very clannish. You really look out for each other and you, you suspect, you suspicion of outsiders. And that's island life because you know, you--the island is, is surrounded by water so, who's that coming over the river? Is that somebody that shouldn't be here? Is that somebody that's gone hurt us? The other thing is the food, rice. Rice is always--they call us rice-eating Geechees. And then I never knew why, I thought, I thought that's what made me talk funny (laughter). So I stopped eating rice, and I still talk funny.$$(Laughter).$$But, but rice is always you--we didn't grow rice when I grew up but people grew rice up in, you know, after slavery. And some people on some of these islands grew rice into the '60s [1960s], you know, the swamp rice where you had to depend on the rain water. But in the old days of plantation days, people grew rice by--from the fresh water part of the up- upland. They actually took the fresh, fresh water rivers and, and actually dammed the rivers so that you could get the water as you pleased to flood the fields. And they said that that traced that, can get traced back to the Senegambia part of West Africa, where they originally discovered rice growing. The Europeans found rice being grown in West Africa, and they went after those folks to import because South Carolina and Georgia had large rice growing fields. And so in the '50s [1950s], '40s [1940s] and '50s [1950s] when I grew up, and no rice was being grown here, people would go to Savannah [Georgia] and that's the first thing on the list, a sack of rice, either a fifty pound or a hundred pound. And everybody'd come back on that boat with those big sacks of rice, very much a staple. But okra, sweet potatoes, all--fish, and the fish nets, all that food gathering method, you can trace it to West Africa. That's, that's Gullah culture.$Well, let's talk about this translation of the Bible. What was that like? I mean, how much work (laughter) did that take?$$Oh, gosh. Well you see after I got to Penn Center [St. Helena Island, South Carolina] as its director we--I found that just about every other person who came to Penn Center was interested in the Gullah culture. I went there with the idea that we really could do more about economic development at Penn Center, because the health center [Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., Ridgeland, South Carolina] had more emphasis on healthcare and I always thought both of 'em linked, but the government would fund--the, the government agency that funded the health didn't see the linkage. So I was, I was very happy to get to, to Penn Center so that I could do more concentration on economic development and, you know, what people can do with their land in the midst of all the development that's going on. But what I found was everybody who came through there (laughter) wanted to study the Gullah culture. And so we spent a lot of time helping scholars with, with understanding the Gullah culture. And then two of the people who came through were translators of languages, and they had spent a lot of time translating the Bible in South America in the different languages down there. Just about, oh, must have been about three or four years before I got there the previous director at Penn Center had started a program on English, English was--as a second language. And he was concentrating on high school graduates, teaching them how to speak English better so that they could get a job on Hilton Head [Hilton Head Island, South Carolina]. Well, he got, he got a grant from the department of labor to do it. And everybody who really, you know, people who really loved the Gullah language condemned him for doing it, but he was interested in the kids' economic well-being, because people weren't hiring people who spoke Gullah. And so these linguists who had been translating the Bible throughout South America read about that program and contacted him said, "We wanna come and translate the Bible into Gullah." Well, he didn't pay much attention to that, John Gadson [John W. Gadson, Sr.] didn't. And so they ended up coming here to Daufuskie Island [South Carolina] and beating about on Daufuskie awhile and then they decided to come over to St. Helena Island [South Carolina]. And so they struggled over there a bit before anybody would accept them. And then somebody came from the University of California [University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California], a professor [HistoryMaker J. Herman Blake] who was a mutual friend of, of mine and one of my other friend, and he asked me about the Gullah language. And I said, "There are couple here trying to study that thing but I don't know anything about helping with Gullah language because everybody had always condemned Gullah." And so we went to their senior citizens center and he talked with them about different words and language that he could trace back to West Africa. He had been studying West African languages and culture and comparing it to Gullah. That afternoon after going to the center and talking with those folks he convinced me to meet with these linguists. He said, "You need to meet those people." And those linguists, we sat down for about two hours, and they had a big language book we used and we could trace the language, the Gullah language, back through West Africa. They showed me the difference in languages and they showed me the roots of many of the Gullah words, and so I became very convinced and I joined the team. At that time they had about four or five people on their team. We ended up with about fifteen people and we met every week. And they would send out, you know, they would write the scriptures and then would send it us to correct, and we were correcting Gullah based on what I heard spoken by my [maternal] grandmother [Rosa Brown Williams] way back when she babysat me. And that's how we got through that whole New Testament, just by remembering--$$Hm.$$--how the language was spoken.$$So, there's a--were there copies produced?$$Oh, yes. Gee, I wish I had brought a copy for you to see.$$Okay.$$But you can take a shot of a copy. We have--we, we finished it back in 2005. It's published. It's online. It's on Amazon.com. You can--$$Okay.$$It's, it's a wonderful work. Now we're getting ready to record it in audio. And that project's going to begin in March. When we--as we speak here now I'm thinking of who I can recruit. We need twenty voices, twenty male voices and five female voices to record the, the Gullah language.

Thomas Barnwell

Thomas Curtis Barnwell, Jr. was born on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on June 2, 1935. His parents were Hannah White, a schoolteacher, and Thomas Barnwell, a farmer. Barnwell grew up on Hilton Head Island when the only transportation on and off the island was by boat. The native islanders were self sufficient by growing fresh vegetables, raising cows and hogs, fishing, catching shrimp and crabs and hunting deer, rabbit and raccoon. Barnwell graduated from St. Helena High School on St. Helena Island, South Carolina in 1954 and enrolled in Clafin College in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

After one year at Clafin College, Barnwell joined the United States Air Force. In 1959, he received an honorable discharge and enrolled at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1960, he began working as a longshoreman, Local 1414 in Savannah, Georgia.

Barnwell traveled extensively to continue his education. He studied sociology at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1961; community development at the University of West Indies in 1963; group dynamics at the University of Ontario in Bethel, Maine in 1964 and community development and community education at the University of Puerto Rico.

Barnwell began his work in community service at Penn Community Service, Inc. While at the Penn Center, he worked in community organization, program planning, federal program orientation and implementation. His community service work continued as he held positions as Assistant Director for Beaufort-Jasper Hampton Economic Opportunity Commission, Executive Director of Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. and the Regional Director of National Consumer Cooperative Bank, Charleston South Carolina branch. Barnwell is a former board member of the Bluffton Oyster Cooperative and the Hilton Head Fishing Cooperative. He testified before the United States Committee on Hunger and Malnutrition and Human Needs in 1969, and participated in President John F. Kennedy’s To Fulfill These Rights Committee.

Barnwell, who was involved in securing affordable housing, healthcare and employment for the natives of Hilton Head Island, is a land developer and a private business owner of rental properties.

Barnwell is married to Susan, his wife of over forty years. They have three adult children.

Barnwell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 30, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.034

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/30/2007

Last Name

Barnwell

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

St. Helena High School

Squire Pope Elementary School

Robinson Junior High School

Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School

Claflin College

Tuskegee University

Fisk University

University of the West Indies

University of Puerto Rico

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Hilton Head Island

HM ID

BAR09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It Must Be Done As Quickly As Possible.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

6/2/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hilton Head Island

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Rice

Short Description

Real estate entrepreneur and social activist Thomas Barnwell (1935 - ) helped secure affordable housing, health care and employment for fellow natives of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Employment

Penn Center

Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.

Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission

National Consumer Cooperative Bank

Barnwell Family Associates, LLC

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:21440,262:23225,283:23645,288:27850,319:28150,325:30490,338:54858,656:55190,661:59524,683:60325,694:71094,874:71984,886:72340,891:83185,989:83906,1002:84833,1017:92976,1077:93348,1082:94092,1095:94464,1100:95208,1113:95673,1120:97068,1139:117860,1387:121560,1398:125720,1428:134792,1505:136022,1523:138892,1569:139466,1577:139958,1585:140368,1591:140860,1597:142828,1622:143402,1631:143976,1640:159954,1782:160512,1790:160977,1796:164790,1870:168510,1930:168882,1935:169254,1940:178820,1994:179693,2007:180469,2023:185455,2065:186085,2073:187450,2088:187975,2094:199584,2193:200456,2203:200892,2208:201655,2216:205797,2291:218300,2434:221815,2478:227976,2527:228840,2534:234668,2583:235164,2588:235660,2593:236528,2602:237148,2608:240674,2636:243278,2674:243614,2679:258661,2840:259631,2854:261377,2876:263899,2906:264772,2913:267973,2963:268458,2969:274723,3011:278681,3038:279246,3044:281732,3066:282410,3074:282975,3083:288060,3150:291300,3155$0,0:21700,373:22240,380:31532,539:38543,603:43340,650:44042,657:46499,686:47786,698:64760,840:69180,928:70625,948:71135,956:77046,991:78206,999:79018,1008:80642,1025:85387,1050:86476,1060:97824,1143:98156,1148:98986,1160:100231,1176:107701,1345:108863,1359:109444,1367:109776,1372:116714,1425:117058,1430:119036,1473:127264,1558:127800,1563:128470,1569:132950,1601:137250,1660:137850,1668:149669,1803:160032,1930:161124,1944:172452,2062:174472,2087:175280,2097:178714,2127:186925,2176:189044,2187:192300,2236:193884,2260:198368,2296:199016,2306:199448,2313:200240,2325:200600,2331:201104,2339:201464,2345:201752,2350:202040,2355:202400,2361:204090,2369:205410,2386:206290,2397:215048,2517:224226,2568:225002,2577:229166,2606:230910,2626:231564,2635:232218,2643:232872,2650:235002,2661:236766,2669:237900,2680:242334,2692:243387,2704:244791,2719:249380,2733:255860,2790:256728,2798:260944,2835:261812,2844:262804,2853:266560,2867:266960,2876:267460,2882:274400,2957:275030,2965:277100,2992:281780,3068:282500,3078:282950,3086:293914,3226:303934,3343:304594,3355:305056,3360:307168,3414:320704,3590:321148,3597:322036,3610:332210,3875
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas Barnwell interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas Barnwell lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas Barnwell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas Barnwell talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas Barnwell describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas Barnwell describes his mother's role in the community

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas Barnwell remembers his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas Barnwell describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas Barnwell describes the food traditions on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas Barnwell describes his father's role in the community

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas Barnwell remembers lessons from his father

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas Barnwell describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas Barnwell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas Barnwell describes his father's occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas Barnwell describes his paternal grandmother's ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas Barnwell describes the lifestyle on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas Barnwell describes his community on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas Barnwell describes the role of religion on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thomas Barnwell remembers catching seafood on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Thomas Barnwell remembers hunting on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas Barnwell remembers hunting wild turkeys on Pinckney Island, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas Barnwell describes the methods of catching crabs on the Sea Islands of South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas Barnwell describes the transportation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas Barnwell describes the law enforcement on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas Barnwell lists the churches on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas Barnwell shares the history of Hilton Head Island's schools, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas Barnwell shares the history of Hilton Head Island's schools, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas Barnwell remembers Squire Pope Elementary School on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas Barnwell describes his challenges with dyslexia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas Barnwell recalls his activities at Squire Pope Elementary School

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas Barnwell recalls the community's expectations of him

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas Barnwell remembers Robinson Junior High School on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas Barnwell recalls applying to the Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School on St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas Barnwell describes his experiences at the Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thomas Barnwell remembers his education at the Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thomas Barnwell recalls an influential teacher at the Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Thomas Barnwell talks about boarding at the Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas Barnwell recalls graduating from St. Helena High School on St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas Barnwell remembers Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas Barnwell recalls his enlistment in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas Barnwell remembers training at the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas Barnwell recalls serving at the Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas Barnwell describes his experiences of discrimination in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas Barnwell recalls his return to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas Barnwell recalls his interest in the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Thomas Barnwell remembers his marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Thomas Barnwell describes the Hilton Head NAACP branch

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas Barnwell recalls the problem of land inheritance on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thomas Barnwell describes his duties at the Penn Center on St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thomas Barnwell recalls his conversations with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thomas Barnwell talks about the communities served by the Penn Center

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thomas Barnwell remembers his expectations of the March on Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thomas Barnwell recalls serving on a committee for President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thomas Barnwell describes the demographics of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thomas Barnwell remembers continuing his education

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thomas Barnwell describes the Beauford Jasper Comprehensive Health Service

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Thomas Barnwell recalls working for the National Consumer Cooperative Bank

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Thomas Barnwell describes his family's property on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Thomas Barnwell describes his property developments on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thomas Barnwell talks about the loss of land by the native residents of Hilton Head Island

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thomas Barnwell describes the dispossession of Hilton Head Island's native residents

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Thomas Barnwell describes the history of the tourism industry on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Thomas Barnwell talks about his book manuscript

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Thomas Barnwell describes his hopes and concerns for Hilton Head Island

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Thomas Barnwell talks about his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Thomas Barnwell reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Thomas Barnwell shares a message to future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Thomas Barnwell narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Thomas Barnwell describes the methods of catching crabs on the Sea Islands of South Carolina
Thomas Barnwell describes the Beauford Jasper Comprehensive Health Service
Transcript
You bypassed crabs, we need to know how you crab.$$All right, crabs. How did you catch crabs (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Crabs. Um-hm.$$Two ways. Maybe more than two, but during those days, you learned how to bog for crabs by going out into the mud. Some people had boots on, some people were barefoot. But you would have a stick with a Y in it and you would find--you would learn how to find that stick. We used to call it a stick with a crutch. And you would see the crabs in the mud. You'd know how to identify it. We, we learned how to identify the crab in the, in the crab bed. We used to refer to them as crab in the bed. And you would take that stick and put it across the back of the crab and when the crab had, usually, at least one claw, when the crab stick it's claw up, you would put it--put the stick across the back of the crab to avoid the crab from biting your fingers. Now, we didn't have gloves and sometimes we got, you know, clipped by a crab claw. But that was the process of, of learning how to do it. And you would have a crocus sack in some cases and in some cases, you'd have a large bucket. And then your sack might be way up on the hill. But we would have a container to put the crab in. And then you'd put the crab in that container and go on and continue to crab. Now, the other way we, we crabbed, was on lines. Two, two, two types of line. You could put a throttle line out where you put bullnose, was a meat that you'd get from the crab boat, or put chicken backs and chicken backs was not very popular to put on, because back in those days, chicken was a meat that, that was used for family meals. And nobody was, was rich enough (laughter) to, to use chicken for crabbing, and even the chicken foot was used to--to be eaten back in those days. So bullnose was, you know, or ham skin was, was--that was the meat that you put on a throttle line. And a throttle line was a long line that you would--you would put the meat, the bullnose, about twelve inches, more or less, apart and you'd string it along the side of where the tide would still not go totally low. And you'd get in a batoe and string the line out for whatever length, a thousand, five hundred feet or whatever. And then you'd have a dip net and someone would, would, would guide the batoe while you'd have one--there would be two persons, in some cases, most cases there'd be two in the batoe. The batoe is a small boat, by the way, that's made locally that would have enough room to have a fifty-five gallon drum and--and you'd have a homemade dip net made from wire that you would have one person pulling the line as the other guide the batoe and each time that you--the crabs would hold onto the meat until you got to it and you just put the net in and scoop it up and put--put it in the--in the drum. And then that would be another way of having some cash for whomever in the family that lived close to the water. And the crab boat would come on certain time of the day from Port Royal, South Carolina, and would pick up the crabs and paid so much per pound for the crab. And, and that's, that's the way that would be done.$So what year was it that you leave Penn Community Center--Services [Penn Community Services; Penn Center, St. Helena Island, South Carolina]?$$It was sixty--$$Sixty-seven [1967]?$$Yeah, yeah, '67 [1967]. Went to EOC [Beaufort Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission Inc.].$$You went to the EOC?$$Was it EOC, Economic Opportunity Commission or Beaufort Jasper Comprehensive Health Services [Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., Ridgeland, South Carolina]?$$Okay, I think you--I think it says for the Beaufort Jasper Hampton Economic Opportunity Commission. And what was your job there?$$Well the Beaufort Jasper Comprehensive Health Services is when I, I had my greatest at home experience. EOC was an interim step prior to Comprehensive Health. The economic opportunity commission was, was, was a spin off to the national, then President Johnson [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] economic opportunity program to begin to look at helping communities throughout the country that had specific poverty problems and starting of community centers, community daycare and, and, and some job opportunities, the Job Corps and such programs as that. And from that, then I went to the Beaufort Jasper, I helped--I worked with the Federation Southern Cooperative [sic. Federation of Southern Cooperatives] as a short timeframe in between there working with helping to organize and develop cooperatives here in this area, Beaufort County [South Carolina], as well as when they needed, they pulled me out to go to Mississippi and other places. Then after that, a cooperative experience, then I, I, I went full time with the volunteer service for about a year in volunteering to organize the Organization to Prevent Hunger and Malnutrition, it's not on my resume, but, but that's what it's called. And then it folded in--they changed the name and folded it into the Beaufort Jasper Comprehensive Health Services and that's when I really enjoyed developing--helping the communities throughout Beaufort and Jasper County [South Carolina] to organize neighborhoods throughout these two communities into target--into nineteen target areas for the purpose of putting together a comprehensive healthcare program, and when I say comprehensive, starting from the transportation need to the community health worker need where someone would come into their homes. This is pre-home healthcare service time. Okay.$$Like, 'cause we're talking ab- this is like 1970? Okay.$$Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. And, and, and then the dental care in a dental environment. The clinical care prenatal, postnatal, as well as in-hospital care, as well as mental health, as well as speech and hearing, as well as any other referral services that would be needed. And, and, and getting into the area of talking with the persons that would begin to plan the dialysis needs for the area who would operate dialysis clinics.$$Okay, wow.$$That was fascinating.$$I guess so. Because this was a development for people of what income?$$All low income, starting with low income. And as a result of that, I went to the University of Michigan [Ann Arbor, Michigan] worked on a master's [degree] program for about a year and a half on, on a weekend flying in once a month. And I did not finish the program because it got so cold in Michigan, University of Michigan that I told them they could keep their degree. And they threatened me that after--if I did get the degree, they were gonna move me to Washington, and I said no, I have no interest, so bye-bye, I'm gone.$$Okay. So you stay with the Comprehensive Health Services and that was in--this was in Ridgeland [South Carolina], where in South Carolina (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, well Ridgeland was the addre- the main address.$$Was the address, the main address.$$Yeah, yeah, yeah.$$Okay, and you stay there for ten years?$$Yeah.

Charles E. Simmons

Real estate developer Charles Edward Simmons, Jr. was born an only child on December 6, 1928 on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to Estella and Charles Edward Simmons, Sr., Gullah natives of Hilton Head Island. Simmons’ parents owned many acres of farmland, and his father was a shrewd businessman who owned the only ferry transportation service to Savannah, Georgia from Hilton Head Island before the bridge connecting Hilton Head to the mainland was built in 1956. He also operated a bus service that catered to laborers and schoolchildren.

Simmons attended elementary school in the Spanish Wells community but later would be in the last graduating class of the Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School on St. Helena Island. This school was begun in 1862 as an experimental program to educate Sea Island slaves freed at the beginning of the Civil War.

After graduation, Simmons was drafted into the United States Army where he served for two years. In 1952, Simmons entered South Carolina State University where he was president of the Commercial Club. He received his B.A. degree in business administration in 1956.

Simmons became the Director of the Beauford-Jasper County Equal Opportunity Commission and was the liaison between the land developers and the residents of St. John’s Island, South Carolina. While the corporation began to develop the upscale town of Kiawah, he worked to ensure employment opportunities for local residents. In 1976, Simmons went to work for Hargray Telephone Company as a technician. He then retired in 1993.

Simmons owned Simmons Properties. He was also on the Trustee Board of the Penn Center, a founding member of the Native Island Business and Community Affairs Association, Inc. (NIBCAA) and was the President of the Spanish Wells and Native Island Property Owners Association.

Simmons lived on Hilton Head Island with Rosa, his wife. They had four adult children, Charlesetta, Palmer, Greg and Benjamin.

Simmons was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 29, 2007.

Simmons passed away on May 26, 2016.

Accession Number

A2007.032

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/29/2007

Last Name

Simmons

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Occupation
Schools

Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School

South Carolina State University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Hilton Head Island

HM ID

SIM05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, Hawaii, Cruises

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

12/6/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hilton Head Island

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans (Lima), Cornbread, Chicken, Fish

Death Date

5/26/2016

Short Description

Real estate entrepreneur and civic leader Charles E. Simmons (1928 - 2016 ) served as the director of the Beaufort-Jasper County Equal Opportunity Commission. He also acted as a liaison between the land developers and the residents of St. John’s Island, South Carolina, in the development of the upscale town of Kiawah, ensuring employment opportunities for local residents.

Employment

Sea Pines Company

Hargray Telephone Company

Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission

Favorite Color

Black, Gray, Khaki, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:1134,33:1944,44:3645,63:4131,132:4455,137:5670,157:6561,169:9652,184:10072,190:10660,199:13264,248:15280,363:16036,375:16792,386:24628,534:25312,552:34630,704:48840,938:56895,1041:59799,1111:78180,1395:90460,1600:90840,1605:99566,1732:111073,1888:119292,1961:122302,2018:123506,2044:130660,2111:130988,2116:131398,2122:132792,2155:133202,2161:139516,2278:150226,2379:150682,2386:171059,2599:171375,2604:171770,2610:174535,2662:174930,2668:177853,2725:183430,2737:184642,2811:196470,3012:201288,3199:211494,3301:213292,3343:213540,3348:214408,3377:215028,3390:215648,3410:217756,3441:230550,3642$0,0:2578,122:3034,130:3718,141:4630,162:5922,189:6378,197:15300,349:18520,397:31165,653:54105,882:58802,962:68482,1100:68817,1106:87204,1380:92168,1478:99376,1672:109048,1773:127757,2053:128558,2064:132098,2085:142230,2251
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles E. Simmons' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles E. Simmons lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles E. Simmons describes his maternal grandparents, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles E. Simmons describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles E. Simmons describes his mother, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles E. Simmons describes his mother, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles E. Simmons describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles E. Simmons describes Hilton Head Island's Spanish Wells community

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles E. Simmons describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles E. Simmons talks about his father's legacy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charles E. Simmons recalls his childhood responsibilities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles E. Simmons describes his family's land on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles E. Simmons recalls his elementary school on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles E. Simmons recalls his childhood aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles E. Simmons describes Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles E. Simmons recalls his experiences at Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles E. Simmons remembers 'Randy's Record Shop Show' on WLAC Radio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles E. Simmons recalls the Colored Normal, Industrial, Agricultural and Mechanical College of South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles E. Simmons recalls returning to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for holidays

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles E. Simmons recalls the harvest at Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charles E. Simmons describes Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Charles E. Simmons remembers his U.S. Army training

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Charles E. Simmons recalls serving in a segregated U.S. Army unit

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles E. Simmons recalls his U.S. Army service in Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles E. Simmons recalls returning to college in South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles E. Simmons recalls graduating from South Carolina State College in Orangeburg

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles E. Simmons talks about Hilton Head Island's segregated schools

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles E. Simmons describes the incorporation of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles E. Simmons describes the new infrastructure on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles E. Simmons recalls the development of Hilton Head Island

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles E. Simmons recalls experiencing racial discrimination in Savannah, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles E. Simmons recalls the lack of medical services on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles E. Simmons describes the herbal remedies of Hilton Head Island

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles E. Simmons recalls local government officials from Hilton Head Island

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles E. Simmons describes his father's businesses on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles E. Simmons describes the impact of development on Hilton Head Island's residents

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles E. Simmons talks about property taxes on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles E. Simmons shares his perspective on property ownership

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles E. Simmons talks about the beaches on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles E. Simmons describes his marriage to Rosa Simmons

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles E. Simmons recalls his career at Hargray Telephone Company, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles E. Simmons remembers the Beaufort-Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Charles E. Simmons describes his work for the Sea Pines Company, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles E. Simmons describes his work for the Sea Pines Company, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles E. Simmons describes Hilton Head Island's Sea Pines Plantation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles E. Simmons recalls the Native Island Business and Community Affairs Association

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles E. Simmons talks about the Gullah culture

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles E. Simmons describes his community activities on Hilton Head Island

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles E. Simmons describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles E. Simmons reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles E. Simmons describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Charles E. Simmons shares a message for future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Charles E. Simmons talks about his children

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Charles E. Simmons narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$2

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Charles E. Simmons describes Hilton Head Island's Sea Pines Plantation
Charles E. Simmons recalls the harvest at Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School
Transcript
Can you let me--give me a little background information on Sea Pines [Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina]. I know that it's a private residential community, but these were the people who actually were developing--they helped develop Hilton Head [Hilton Head Island, South Carolina] and now Kiawah [Kiawah Island, South Carolina]. Who were some of the people who were a part of this development team?$$Well, it started with Charles Fraser [Charles E. Fraser] and like--it started way back, they were the lumber people, you know, when I told you that they came with the lumber. They bought the timber right and they cut the timber, and they sold it and I guess they must have made enough money off the timber to, to really buy that part of the island that was undeveloped. And Charles Fraser--Charles was still in school then too, 'cause Charles and I finished school about the same time. And he got this idea of developing the part of the island that--what happened there were two sections. Charles Fraser and his family got Sea Pines [Hilton Head Island, South Carolina], that area, that part of the island and Fred Hack [Fred C. Hack] and his family got the north end of the island. Sea Pines [Sea Pines Company, Inc., Hilton Head Island, South Carolina] and Hilton Head Company [Hilton Head Island, South Carolina], this end of the island was known as Hilton Head Company. And out of Hilton Head Company came Port Royal Plantation [Hilton Head Island, South Carolina] and Palmetto Hall [Palmetto Hall Plantation, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina] and now it's, it's Main Street and Indigo Run. But Charles, Charles was the one that really started it the development. Sea Pines was developed long before the Hilton Head Company and the other areas. Because what Charles did while he was in school, he recruited some of his schoolmates to come down and join him in doing the development, and just like they do now. When they start a project they have everybody in place. They have their attorney, they have their engineer, they have their architect, you know, and everybody give their time and whatever. And where it would cost me out of my pocket, they have all the expertise right there. And that's how Sea Pines got developed. And, of course, he had to sell the idea of selling lots and stuff, you know, he traveled quite a bit and got people committed to buy property in Sea Pines. And, and that's what--that's how he got started.$$Okay, and the land--they just pur- he purchased the land. It was underdeveloped but these were just--this was still land that black people owned?$$No.$$No?$$Unh-uh.$$Okay.$$These were lands that they cut the timber off when they bought the timber right from, from Thorne [Langdon K. Thorne] and Loomis [Alfred L. Loomis], the people that owned the bulk of the island. And they, they usually--basically used the island just for hunting those people that really owned the bulk of the property. They would come down during the hunting season and they stayed at Honey Horn [Honey Horn Plantation, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina], you hear me mention Honey Horn. They would stay at Honey Horn, that's where they stayed when they came, you know, to do their hunting and that's all they did, so the land wasn't all that to them because they lived in New York. But they came here during the hunting season to go hunting. They hunt deer and birds and things like that, and then of course they bought the timber right and after they bought the timber right and they cut all the timber then they bought the land--$$I gotcha, okay.$$--then they started developing it.$Penn [Penn Normal, Industrial and Agricultural School, St. Helena Island, South Carolina] had--$$Try and explain, explain what it really was like, what it looked like, what was--how did it look so that we can get the idea?$$Penn, as I said earlier, was an industrial, agricultural (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Agricultural. Um-hm.$$--and normal school. Penn has hundreds of acres of property right now but they don't farm it like they did back then. See, they had a boarding department and they grew just about all the food that they served in the boarding department. The sweet potatoes, the white potato, and the beans, and even the syrup, you know, they'd grind the cane and made syrup. And they just had a--they plant rice, you know, it was just--and the girls, what we called the harvest week, that's doing the Thanksgiving holiday, instead of letting you come home to spend the holidays at home, you'd stay at Penn and harvest the crops, you know, because come November is harvest, is usually harvest time. And, you know, we'd get a kick out of that because the girls are in the field along with us so we had fun doing what we was supposed to do. And the girls enjoyed it too because they get a chance to come out, you know, and be with the fellows. So, we had, we had a nice time. But the milk--they had their own dairy. You know, we were almost like an Amish community I guess (laughter), you know, do our, did our own things. And that's just like I said, everybody worked. You had a job. The fellows who work at the dairy, they had to get up out that bed early in the morning because the fellow who was director of the dairy, he milked the cows. Very seldom a student milked the cow, then sometime they did. But that student had to get up in the morning early enough to go down there and process that milk, bottle it and all that, and take it to the, to the dining room.$$What job did you have?$$I had two or three different jobs. Mostly my job was on the farm, I worked with a fellow who was in charge of the farm. I drove trucks and tractors, and things like that. And go with him when he has to go to town to pick up anything from town. He would take me with him so I could do the driving (laughter) because you know.