Caw Caw Interpretive Center – Ravenel, South Carolina
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A visit to little known Caw Caw Nature and History Interpretive Center in Ravenel lets you explore a variety of habitats such as dry upland forest, old rice plantation fields, and cypress swamps. This area was once a part of several rice plantations and home to African slaves, who were able to create rice fields in cypress swamps with their agricultural knowledge and skills.
Beyond the different landscapes, though, is a chance to touch a little remembered piece of South Carolina history. The Caw Caw Interpretive Center offers educational programs ranging from pre-school to college level that feature important sites of the Stono Rebellion.
Pausing under the giant, Spanish moss draped live oaks, you almost sense the ghosts of slaves who joined the Stono Rebellion on September 9, 1739. Marching from farm to farm, nearly 100 rioting slaves killed 20-25 white people and burned homes before they were stopped by a militia. Within a few hours a third of the slaves had been shot, and within a week the rest were caught and executed.
As a result of the rebellion, new laws were passed that forbid slaves to grow their own food, learn to read, assemble in groups, and earn their own money. While reading the historic plaques at Caw Caw, you realize that this rebellion occurred more than 100 years before the Civil War and that the human consequences of slavery have a longer history than you realize.
SCIWAY thanks Diane Yale-Peabody of Ohio for providing this great information and picture taken in April 2012.
For more information about the Caw Caw Interpretive Center, including hours of operation and admission costs, please visit its website.
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