Sonja Griffin Evans
Created in 2015.The painting not only depicts a celebration of freedom in Historic Mitchelville, the 'Birthplace of African American Freedom', but also the celebration of self emancipation. The triumphant and touching post-Civil War story of the rise of the first self-governed settlement for freedmen in the United States took place on Hilton Head Island. Mitchelville was a town built during the American Civil War for escaped enslaved people, located on what is now Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It was named for one of the local Union Army generals, Ormsby M. Mitchel. The town was a population center for the enterprise known as the Port Royal Experiment. In 1862, shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed - while most of the African-American enslaved population was still trying to adjust to the idea of their new post-war freedom - the people of Mitchelville were busy creating a completely new, self-governed culture that would be the guidepost for generations to follow.