BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – After much controversy over Confederate monuments, a small historic church in the Lowcountry wants to honor a figure of African American history.
Beaufort tours visit the Tabernacle Baptist Church every day to see the gravesite of Robert Smalls and the statue dedicated to him.
Soon, visitors will be able to see a monument for Harriet Tubman as well.
Beaufort made headlines after HBO’s John Oliver said the county should have a monument of Robert Smalls, but what he didn’t know is that one has been in the community since 1976.
“When you think about the life of Robert Smalls, how daring he was, how he commandeered the steamship planter and sell the way to freedom with his family and others, that is a story that should be told,” says Kenneth Hodges, pastor of Tabernacle Church.
Smalls also served five terms in Congress and became a member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church with his mother.
The church is now adding another story, with a statue of Harriet Tubman who came to Beaufort during the Civil War in the early 1860s.
“She came in she served as a spy in a scout and she was also instrumental in a raid up the Combahee River that freed over 750 slaves in one night,” says Pastor Hodges. “After they freed the slaves they loaded, they boarded the vessels and came back into Beaufort and assembled in the church behind us.”
Historians believe Tubman inspired hundreds of freed slaves in the pews of the historic church.
To honor her story, the church is raising funds for a 14-foot statue to be sculpted by Ed Dwight who has statues in Washington D.C. at the South Carolina and Ohio State Houses.
For more information on the statue and how to donate, visit here: http://harriettubmanmonument.com/