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 site.

Darrah Hall

Darrah Hall is the oldest structure on the Penn Center campus, dating to the end of the Reconstruction era. It is the only building at Penn Center that is physically managed by the National Park Service. Learn more about access and services.

Last updated: August 19, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

706 Craven Street
Beaufort, SC 29902


(843) 962-0039

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