Clyburn Leading Effort to Create Revolutionary War Corridor in Carolinas

July 6, 2021 by Dan McCue

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., is leading a bipartisan effort to preserve and showcase important Revolutionary War sites in both North and South Carolina and create a new trail linking them.

The bill, H.R. 1286, otherwise known as the Southern Campaign of the Revolution National Heritage Corridor Act, was originally introduced in the House last fall, and it has the support of every member, Democrat and Republican, from the state.

A companion bill has been introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham in the Senate. It is co-sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott.

The push to establish federal protection over the scores of historic sites has stretched more than a decade, when former U.S. Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., spearheaded the measure. 

In 2014, the National Park Service conducted a National Heritage Area Suitability/Feasibility study which concluded that the military events in the Carolinas substantially influenced the eventual American victory in the Revolution.

The sites to be included in the corridor also tell the story of a nearly forgotten chapter in the country’s civil rights history.

During the revolution, both British and American armies promised enslaved African Americans their freedom if they enlisted. 

Black soldiers fought in integrated combat units in a number of backcountry locations during the Southern Campaign, and most of those who could document their service to the American army would earn their freedom at the end of the war. 

If passed into law,  the project created by the bill would be managed by the University of South Carolina and the Culture and Heritage Museums of York County, South Carolina.

Testifying in support of the Act before the House Subcommittee on National Park, Forests, and Public Lands last month, Clyburn said, “When we hear the story of the American Revolution, we don’t often learn of the war’s Southern Campaign or applaud the dramatic impact it had on the Revolution.” 

“Significant American victories in the Carolinas between 1775 and 1783, such as at Kings Mountain and at Guilford Courthouse, paved the way for America’s final victory in the war for independence,” he said.

“It is a personal mission of mine to increase public awareness of, and appreciation for, natural, historical, scenic, and cultural resources associated with the Southern Campaign. It is my hope that the creation of this Heritage Corridor will also draw visitors to battlefields and historical landmarks located in communities across the Carolinas that are rich in history,” Clyburn said.

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