The Port imperial Experiment, likewise called the Sea Island Experiment, was very early humanitarian initiative to prepare the former slaves that the southern Carolina Sea Islands for inclusion as free citizens in American windy life.
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The Port imperial Experiment, likewise called the Sea Island Experiment, was very early humanitarian effort to prepare the previous slaves that the southern Carolina Sea Islands because that inclusion as complimentary citizens in American public life. The Port imperial Experiment was made possible by the U.S. Navy’s conquest of the Sea islands of Beaufort district after the naval success at the fight of Port imperial on November 7, 1861. The islands stayed in Union hands until the finish of the war. The occupation was for this reason swift the Beaufort district planters abandoned most of your property and hurriedly evacuated inland. Many importantly, nearly ten thousand slaves were abandoned on island plantations. Still not legally considered free, the abandoned servants were claimed “contraband the war” and placed under the jurisdiction that the U.S. Room of the Treasury. Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase sent out his girlfriend Edward L. Pierce of Boston come Port imperial to recommend steps to the federal government for dealing with the Sea Island “contrabands.” Reverend Mansfield French to be dispatched to Port royal at the exact same time together agent of the brand-new York–based American Missionary association to ascertain what assist was needed for the Sea Island blacks. Both men came down on Port royal in January 1862.
The combination of federal efforts to assist and employ the Sea Island blacks and also the efforts of numerous philanthropic and missionary establishments to prepare the “contrabands” because that emancipation caused the Port imperial Experiment. If the commonwealth government focused on employing the “contrabands” come harvest and procedure the beneficial Sea Island cotton, philanthropic establishments and spiritual missionaries suspect the task of offering education, i beg your pardon the Sea Island blacks eagerly sought. Both the government and private charities provided food, clothing, and medical assistance. In February 1862 Pierce returned to Boston and helped to organize the education Commission and to look for volunteers for this “experiment” in the Sea Islands. In ~ the exact same time, the national Freedmen’s Relief association in brand-new York to be collecting donations and also enlisting volunteers to help as well.
In march 1862 the steamer Atlantic brought the first contingent of these Boston and new York volunteers and philanthropists to harbor Royal. Dubbed “Gideonites” by contemptuous Union soldiers, the volunteer were a mixed group of missionaries intent on teaching, organizing, evangelizing, or law whatever an excellent they might at harbor Royal. Although varied in their makeup, lock were united by your fervent opposition come slavery and also determination to help guide the liberated slaves of the Sea Islands. In April 1862 a second contingent that “Gideonites” arrived from Philadelphia, sponsored by that city’s Port imperial Relief Committee. Prominent among this contingent was Laura Towne, who would discovered the Penn school on St. Helena Island. These teams were the vanguard that scores the missionaries who concerned the Sea archipelago of Beaufort District throughout the polite War.
The partnership in between the commonwealth government and various philanthropic organ to bring out humanitarian enterprises among the Sea Island blacks ongoing throughout the war. Notable amongst their success was the establishment of private freedmen’s institutions that continued a century and also a fifty percent after the Port royal Experiment ended. The Mather college on Port royal Island endured until the 1960s, and also the Penn school on St. Helena Island continued into the twenty-first century together the Penn neighborhood Center.
On January 1, 1863, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation walk into impact for the “contrabands” the the Sea Islands. Afterwards they were “freedmen” and also entitled to plenty of rights and also responsibilities together citizens. This to be the pinnacle of the Port royal Experiment and a day of jubilation because that Sea Island blacks.
Following emancipation, one more effort the the Port imperial Experiment to be the redistribution of exit plantation lands come the previous slaves. Under the authority of the U.S. Straight Tax plot of 1862, most of the Sea Island plantations in Beaufort district were seized because that nonpayment the taxes. Leader of the Port royal Experiment lobbied the federal federal government to distribute this land in small parcels come the freedmen. That the 101,930 acre seized, about one-third to be purchased ~ above favorable terms by the freedmen. Lot of Beaufort County maintained the character of small black landholding into the twenty-first century.
On in march 3, 1865, the federal government developed the office of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands within the battle Department to deal with the humanitarian problems throughout the south at the near of the polite War. Much better known together the Freedmen’s Bureau, it was responsible for food, clothing, and also medical relief and educational services for the freedmen. The an initial Freedmen’s bureau office in southern Carolina was opened up in Beaufort in 1865, and many volunteer of the Port imperial Experiment ended up being leaders of the agency. General Rufus Saxton, the armed forces governor that the Sea Islands and a significant supporter that the Port imperial Experiment, was the Freedman’s bureau director for southern Carolina, Georgia, and also Florida. The Freedman’s Bureau to be the very first humanitarian, or “welfare,” agency established through the U.S. Government. The Freedman’s Bureau to be officially disbanded in 1872, yet the lingering affect of the Port imperial Experiment survived in Beaufort County’s unique landownership patterns and educational institutions.
Abbott, Martin. The Freedmen’s office in southern Carolina, 1865–1872. Chapel Hill: college of north Carolina Press, 1967.
Forten, Charlotte L. The journal of Charlotte Forten: A totally free Negro in the servant Era. 1953. Reprint, new York: Norton, 1981.
Holland, Rupert Sargent, ed. Letters and Diary that Laura Towne: written from the Sea archipelago of southern Carolina, 1862–1884. 1912. Reprint, new York: Negro universities Press, 1969.
Pearson, Elizabeth Ware, ed. Letters from harbor Royal: composed at the time of the civil War. 1906. Reprint, brand-new York: Arno, 1969.
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Rose, Willie Lee. Rehearsal because that Reconstruction: The Port imperial Experiment. 1964. Reprint, Athens: university of Georgia Press, 1999.