By the Sweat of Our Brows” Receives Award

March 17, 2014
Contact: Marie Cheek
Community Relations Coordinator
803/909-7244 /

Culture and Heritage Museums’ “By the Sweat of Our Brows” receives 2014 Preserving our Places in History Project Award from the SC African American Heritage Commission

ROCK HILL, SC - The South Carolina African American Heritage Commission recognizes Culture and Heritage Museums’ “By the Sweat of Our Brows” as a project that significantly and dramatically influences in a permanent way the preservation and interpretation of African American history and culture in SC. The 2014 Project Award will be presented to York County’s Culture and Heritage Museums on March 28, 2014 at the South Carolina Archives & History Center in Columbia. The mission of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission is to identify and promote the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African American experience in South Carolina and to assist and enhance the efforts of the South Carolina Department of Archives & History.

“By the Sweat of Our Brows” is part of the living history programming at Historic Brattonsville and features the experience of the African American journey from enslavement to today. The narrative includes both scholarly research and the collective memories of descendants of Bratton slaves, and endeavors to present a more accurate story about the lives of the enslaved. Scholarly research for the program began to take root in 2008 when the Culture and Heritage Museums received an award from the SC Humanities Council for the “Historic Brattonsville Community Oral History Project.” For the oral history project, noted scholar Lisa M. Bratton conducted oral history interviews within the African American community at Brattonsville. The findings gleamed from the project were transcribed, cross-referenced, and provided to several repositories, along with physical “material culture” such as photographs and letters.

“I am honored that the staff and volunteers of Historic Brattonsville are now among the distinguished recipients of this award." expressed Dontavius Williams, historic interpreter and project coordinator for “By the Sweat of Our Brows.” “It has been a privilege to have first worked as a volunteer for this program for years, and now to be responsible for overseeing the planning of it for the past three years makes winning this award even more special.”

“By the Sweat of Our Brows” is a one day event that is scheduled in September. Historic slave interpreters dressed in 19th century clothing go about their domestic routines in the fields, cabins, and kitchens of Brattonsville. The event has previously included special guests, such as culinary historian Michael Twitty, who did open-hearth cooking demonstrations using food indigenous to York County around 1860; a traditional gospel choir from Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which was built in 1867 on land that originally was owned by the Bratton Family; award-winning African American Interpreter Kitty Wilson-Evans, who presented a moving vignette honoring those who are buried in the “Black Cemetery;” and Joseph McGill, a program officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who spent the night in the only original slave cabin at Historic Brattonsville to raise awareness about the need to preserve such buildings and the stories.

Historic Brattonsville is a 778-acre plantation and living history museum located at 1444 Brattonsville Road, McConnells, SC. The Culture & Heritage Museums is a family of museums in York County, SC, which includes Historic Brattonsville, the McCelvey Center, the Museum of York County and the Main Street Children's Museum. For more information on Culture and Heritage Museums’ Historic Brattonsville, please visit