Reconstruction Era

Penn Center

White wooden building
Darrah Hall, located on the campus of the Penn Center on St. Helena Island

NPS/C. Barr

The Penn Center

Penn Center is a cultural and educational center located on St. Helena Island. It evolved from the Penn School, one of the first southern schools organized by northern missionaries for formerly enslaved people. During the modern civil rights movement Penn School became a site where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) conducted its Citizenship Education Program. During the 1960s, Penn Center hosted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the SCLC staff as they planned the March on Washington and the Poor People’s Campaign. The Penn School was first established in 1862 and lies within the boundaries of the national historic landmark district. Visit the Penn Center website for information about visiting the Penn Center Museum and Welcome Center.

On campus is Darrah Hall, which is managed by the NPS and contains temporary exhibits about the origins of Reconstruction and Education in the region.



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Last updated: June 12, 2021

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Mailing Address:

706 Craven Street
Beaufort, SC 29902


(843) 962-0039

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