Penn Center is one of the nation's most historically significant African-American educational and cultural institutions. It was established early in the Civil War, before emancipation. The purpose was to educate the freed slaves on the sea islands around Port Royal Sound that had been occupied by the Union on November 7, 1861.
The Penn Center has worked on many community-based projects, such as bringing public water to the islands, helping farmers to buy and market co-operatives and advocating better housing and health care for low-income people.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. held annual meetings for his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on the Penn campus. In 1974, the U.S. Department of the Interior named Penn Center a National Historic Landmark.
The grounds are open daily and are free to the public daily. Please call for museum hours.