Rose Hill Plantation examines 150th anniversary of 15th amendment

Black History Month

UNION COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Rose Hill Plantation is continuing its series for Black History month with an event on Saturday, Feb. 8 on the site grounds.

Attendees are invited to learn about the black men’s right to vote entitled “150 Years – The Fight for Voting Rights”.

Rose Hill’s Park Manager, Nate Johnson, and the Park Interpreter, Stephanie Cohen, will present information on the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

On Feb. 3, 1870, the US constitution ratified the 15th Amendment giving black men the right to vote.

Cohen explained that her research on the amendment’s impact on Rose Hill Plantation could connect some attendees with their ancestors.

“It drives home, this is something that really happened. For some people it feels like a long time ago. But it was only a few generations back,” Cohen said.

Johnson continued while holding a copy of a voter registration page filled with names of newly free men who’d registered to vote.

“The Briggs and the Glens. Family names that are still around today. These are men within those same families, who are having the right to vote, finally in 1868,” Johnson said.

The Rose Hill Plantation held close to 200 slaves on more than 2,000 acres of land.

The cash crop for the plantation was cotton, and at the time, it was considered the largest plantation in Union District.

When freed men got the right to vote, Johnson said that was a step forward, but he added, not all steps were in the right direction.

“Suffrage goes from being this right that just a few people have and by the end of the 1800’s more people have. Then, that’s restricted too. So, the history of voting rights is also sad in that there’s progress that’s made and then there are turn backs,” Johnson said.  

Cohen agreed explaining the complexities of this time period and beyond.  

“It wasn’t just all of the sudden, enslaved individuals were free after the civil war. There was a fight to get rights to be recognized as citizens,” Cohen said. “Some would say even today that they’re still fight for the recognition.”

Johnson and Cohen will talk about the 15th Amendment’s meaning to South Carolina African Americans and the challenges that came with their right to vote, starting at 11 a.m.

Additionally, the following Saturday, Feb. 15, the Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site will host South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology Director of Applied Research Division, Stacey Young.

Young will present a session to attendees on the “Archaeology of Plantation Lifeways”.

Attendees will get the chance to learn about archaeological discoveries at Rose Hill, as well as, future archaeological work..

After the presentation, starts at 11 a.m., Young will lead a walk around the park grounds to showcase previous archaeological dig sites.

 “We want everyone to come so, it’s open to everybody,” Johnson said.

For more information about Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site, click here.

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