The Penn Center, founded officially as the Penn School in 1865, is a campus of buildings dedicated to African American education in St. Helena Island, South Carolina. The original school grew out of classes for formerly enslaved African Americans held at Brick Baptist Church in 1862. One of the school’s founders, Laura Towne bought land from Hastings Gantt, a freedman, in 1864, and opened Penn School in 1865, becoming one of the first schools in the South for formerly enslaved individuals. Through the Reconstruction period of South Carolina, the Penn School was financially supported through private donations and public tax support as African Americans won election to the South Carolina legislature in 1867.
Included in this photo gallery are the following:
- Exterior looks at the Penn Center campus
- Frissel Hall
- Brick Baptist Church
- Gant Cottage
- Penn Center Historical Marker