Support Us Button Widget

Preservation of Mount Pleasant’s historic Phillips Community

Historic Phillips Community School Building

Historic Phillips Community school building | Photo provided by the Preservation Society of Charleston

Recently, the Preservation Society of Charleston, Coastal Conservation League + Historic Charleston Foundation received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to nominate Mount Pleasant’s Phillips Community to the National Register of Historic Places.

Phillips Community is one of the last remaining historic Black settlement communities in the region, and is currently threatened by Charleston County’s Alternate 1 proposal to widen Highway 41 directly through the historic + residential area.

Phillips Community historical marker photograph by Harriet Richardson Seacat

Phillips Community historical marker | Photo by Harriet Richardson, provided by the Preservation Society of Charleston

The community was established by freedmen in 1878 + was named after Phillips Plantation. The former slaves of Laurel Hill, Parker Island + Boone Hall Plantations purchased 10 acre parcels of land where they settled to become farmers, tradesmen, businessmen + landowners. The community was independent and self-sustaining, rooted in Gullah traditions, values and history.

Today, many of its residents are descendants of the original settlers + live according to the same patterns and values.

Sweetgrass drying in a yard in Phillips, photograph courtesy of Brockington and Associates

Current residence in Phillips Community | Photo by Brockington and Associates, provided by the Preservation Society of Charleston

The $5,000 grant will support the nonprofit partnership’s efforts to produce a National Register Historic District nomination for Phillips Community that will protect the area and its residents from the disturbance + destruction that would come with the widening of Highway 41.

Read more on what this project might mean for the community here + keep up with its preservation efforts here.