Park bench notes sacrifice of freedmen

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Fish Haul Creek Park on Hilton Head's north end is a place to explore, enjoy wildlife and marsh-soaked scenery, and reflect on life.

There's no better place to do the latter than sitting on the metal-slatted bench donated by the Toni Morrison Society to commemorate the founding of Mitchelville in 1862, the nation's first community established for freed African-American slaves during the Civil War.

The bench was placed April 2013 by the Mitchelville Preservation Project organization in a public ceremony. A commemorative bronze plaque describing its purpose is inlaid in a tabby base in front of the bench.

For Morrison, the Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1993 and Pulitzer Prize winner in 1988, it represents the eighth bench dedication to her society's "Bench by the Road" series across America.

According to the Project, this bench "is to replicate, preserve, and sustain a historically significant site, to educate the public about the sacrifice, resilience and perseverance of the freedmen of Mitchelville, and to share the story of how these brave men and women planted strong and enduring familial roots for generations of future African-Americans."

Lowcountry resident Dean Rowland is a veteran senior editor and freelance writer.

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