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"P" is for Promised Land

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Promised Land (Greenwood and Abbeville Counties; 2010 population 510). Located just off S.C. Highway 10 south of Greenwood, this rural African American community was created by freed slaves in the 1870s. The South Carolina Land Commission purchased the 2,742-acre Marshall plantation in 1869 and divided it into fifty lots of approximately fifty acres each—and then sold them to freed African Americans. The name derived from their “promise” to pay the commission for the land. The sale of the Marshall property gave blacks in the upstate a rare opportunity to acquire land, which to most symbolized the essence of freedom in the post-Civil War years. By 1872, forty-eight families resided in the community. Descendants of these original purchasers still lived on the acreage in Promised Land in the twenty-first century.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.