YORK, S.C. (WBTV) – A church in York unveiled a historical marker Sunday, which is the first marker in the state of South Carolina to make reference to the Ku Klux Klan.
The Allison Creek Presbyterian Church held a ceremony to show off the plaque. It honors the freed slaves who migrated back to Africa after suffering terrorism from the KKK.
Descendants of these slaves were at the ceremony.
They said they were happy their ancestors’ stories are being told.
“I’m standing here trembling. It’s breathtaking for me,” said Bernadine Hill.
The marker tells the story of Elias Hill and the 166 freed slaves who lived near where this plaque now stands.
They were terrorized by the KKK, and as a result, returned to Africa.
“These were gentlemen who suffered some great abuse, terrorism in this community,” said Sam McGregor, the church’s pastor.
Descendants of those slaves told WBTV this historical marker tells a story that often goes untold.
“Their fight for freedom, going back to Africa, but also how they were terrorized in that era of American history,” said Clarence Hill.
McGregor said this was a celebration, but it’s also important that people don’t forget the shameful parts of American history.
“We want them to pause and reflect and think back on our history, but that does not need to be our present. That does not need to be our future,” McGregor said.
Families said this plaque is also a reminder of how far America has come since the days of slavery.
“This marker is a reminder of how far we’ve come as Americans and how far we’ve come since slaves were terrorized,” Hill said.
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