For Immediate Release:
Aug. 22, 2023

Marie Cheek
Community Relations Coordinator
Culture & Heritage Museums

Historic Brattonville’s annual event “By the Sweat of Our Brows” honors the descendants of the plantation’s enslaved community

By the Sweat of Our Brows presents panel discussions with Black and white descendants continuing the conversation of their shared history and lineage

McCONNELLS, S.C. – On Sept. 9 at Historic Brattonsville, descendants of the enslaved community gather to honor their ancestral legacy during “By the Sweat of Our Brows.” Dedicated to telling their authentic narrative, the descendant community has helped to organized the annual event since 2005. 

By the Sweat of Our Brows commences at 10:30 a.m. with the traditional ‘Calling of the Names’ read from Harriet Bratton’s 1865 Freedmen’s List.

Panel discussions are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Black and white Bratton descendants discuss the impact of how the recent discovery of shared DNA impacts their personal lives and collaborative projects. Dr. Lisa Bratton is moderating the 11 a.m. panel.

“We had been meeting for several months before we learned that my DNA matched with the white Brattons. We had always suspected that we were related, but had no proof until now. This discovery brought us even closer together as family and as descendants and I am very passionate about the work we are doing. The relationship we share is virtually unheard of in the United States.” – Dr. Lisa Bratton, a fifth-generation descendant of Green and Malinda Bratton, who were enslaved on the Bratton plantation.

Throughout the day, the descendants will greet visitors, showcase memorabilia and share stories. Around the site, period-dressed interpreters demonstrate what daily life was like on a cotton plantation in the 19th century through traditional African American cooking demonstrations, woodworking, basket weaving, quilting, hands-on activities, children’s games and musical performances.

Living history interprets the legacy of the Brick House with the award-winning exhibit “Liberty & Resistance: Reconstruction and the African American Community at Brattonsville 1865-1877” and the recreated Brattonsville Store. Tours detailing the landscapes of the 19th century plantation are scheduled for noon and 3 p.m.

During the event, staff from the Historical Center of York County will be available with information on genealogical research. Historical artifacts from Culture & Heritage Museums’ collections – two baskets and one woven coverlet, all believed to have been made by people enslaved on plantations in the surrounding area, will be on display in the site’s Orientation Room. The redesigned space also features the new permanent exhibit, “Historic Brattonsville: Through the Eras.”

WHAT: “By the Sweat of Our Brows” – Historic Brattonsville’s annual gathering of the descendant community

WHEN: By the Sweat of Our Brows on Sept. 9, 2023 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. (rain date: Sept. 16)

WHERE: Historic Brattonsville, 1444 Brattonsville Road, McConnells, S.C. 29726

Look for detours; Brattonsville Road will be closed for public safety.


TICKETS: Online Purchasing | Culture & Heritage Museums (  

Want to support Culture & Heritage Museums? – Become a CHMuseums member and enjoy an entire year of exclusive benefits and free general admission to all CHM sites, which includes Historic Brattonsville, Museum of York County, and Main Street Children’s Museum.

As part of the Museums for All initiative, Historic Brattonsville offers year-round access with reduced rates for low-income families; visit for more information or call Visitors Services – 803.684.2327


  1. Dr. Lisa Bratton, a fifth-generation African American descendant of Green and Malinda Bratton, who were enslaved on the Bratton plantation, talks about her journey and genealogical research during last year’s By the Sweat of Our Brows.  Taken on Sept. 13, 2022 courtesy of Culture & Heritage Museums.
  2. Wali Cathcart displays his family photographs and memorabilia while talking to visitors about being a descendent of Brattonsville’s enslaved community. Taken on Sept. 9, 2017 courtesy of Culture & Heritage Museums.

Contact for high resolution images.

Virtual Archives:

Watch virtual programs documenting the Bratton descendants and their stories. An archive of educational virtual programs that preserve and communicate the cultural and natural history of the Carolina Piedmont is available for ongoing viewing on Culture & Heritage Museums YouTube Channel .

Award Winning Project:

South Carolina African American Heritage Commission recognizes “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 S.C. The Commission’s Project Award was presented to York County’s Culture and Heritage Museums on behalf of “By the Sweat of Our Brows” at the South Carolina Archives & History Center in Columbia on March 28, 2014. Since 1997, the Brattonsville descendant community has gathered at Historic Brattonsville for the annual event.

About Historic Brattonsville:

Historic Brattonsville is included in “The Green Book of South Carolina”  – a travel guide to significant African American heritage and cultural destinations across the state.

Historic Brattonsville features historic houses and structures built over the course of three generations of the Bratton family and the enslaved community. The plantation spreads over 800-acres and includes farmed land with heritage breed animals, a Revolutionary War battlefield site, and a nature preserve with miles of walking trails. Seasonal events, reenactments, and living history programs interpret what life was like in the Carolina Piedmont during the 18th and 19th century.