Brick Baptist Church

a brick building underneath a large oak tree
The Brick Baptist Church was one of the first schools for formerly enslaved people during the Reconstruction era.

NPS/ J. Cadoff

Enslaved people built the Brick Baptist Church on St. Helena Island in 1855 as a place of worship for white planters, several of whom are buried in the small cemetery next to the sanctuary. Fingerprints of the enslaved who made the bricks can still be seen in some of the walls. After the Union Army liberated the sea islands, the church became a haven for enslaved people, and, in 1862, Laura Towne and Ellen Murray established what became the Penn School in this sanctuary.

Today, the exterior of the church is preserved by the park, but the interior remains an active church congregation, and is not typically open to visitor access. If visiting the Brick Baptist Church site, please be respectful of the congregation and church activities that may be taking place.

The church is located at:
85 Martin Luther King Drive
St. Helena Island, SC

Last updated: October 17, 2019

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

706 Craven Street
Beaufort, SC 29902


(843) 962-0039

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