Bus tour will explore Aiken's African-American history

  • Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:03 a.m.
    UPDATED: Saturday, October 19, 2013 10:53 a.m.

Explore and experience African-American history from slave ships to the ports of Charleston through the 21st century on a bus tour connecting history back to Aiken.

The one-day bus tour, conducted by local author and historian Wayne O'Bryant, will depart from Reid's parking lot on York Street at 7 a.m., on Saturday Oct. 26, and return that evening. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children ages 12 to 15. Members of The Center for African American History, Art and Culture will receive a 15 percent discount during registration.

“During the tour, we're going to talk about the connection between Charleston and Aiken,” Jo-Anne Saunders, director at The Center, said. “Aiken was formed basically out of Charleston and we're going to talk about the African-American experience and how it progressed. We will visit Sullivan Island, William Aiken's home and talk about how the railroad depot stemmed from parts of history in Aiken.”

Residents are asked to register by Tuesday; however, if an individual misses the registration date, the deadline may be extended, according to Saunders. While this is the first bus tour The Center has sponsored, O'Bryant is no stranger to tours and speaking engagements.

“When I first learned more about this history from Wayne, I was getting chills,” Saunders said. “We encourage all people to attend this trip, especially any youth. It's about history, and it's so fascinating. I think the youth will definitely like to be able to see the history, rather than just learn about it.”

The victories, successes and triumphs of the African-American community, according to Saunders, is what will be one of the most exciting facets of this trip.

“So many times, we are stuck with the horrific part of our history, such as during slavery,” Saunders said. “There is so much more African-American history than slavery. I think people will leave with a feeling of victory, feeling of success and a feeling of pride. This isn't just African-American history. This is Aiken history. It's our responsibility to tell the story and show how we are all connected.”

For more information and to register, call 706-664-3989.

Maayan Schechter is the city beat reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville.

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