582 Asbury Road – An African American History Site
City Directories and History: Mulberry Chapel Methodist Church, built circa 1880, is significant for its association with African American heritage in the South Carolina upcountry during Reconstruction and for its architectural significance as an intact example of a vernacular form of Gothic Revival ecclesiastical architecture. Mulberry Chapel Methodist Church is a local example of one of the most significant social changes precipitated by black freedom – the establishment of independent black churches and denominations. It was part of a large social pattern, which resulted from two pressures: blacks’ desire to exercise their hard-won freedom from slavery and to avoid white antagonism. Before the Civil War, black slaves in the surrounding area attended the Asbury Methodist Church less than a mile away. By 1870, most blacks and whites worshiped in separate churches. Mulberry Chapel Methodist Church is one of only a few extant African-American churches in South Carolina dating from the first twenty-five years after the Civil War and is a rare example in the South Carolina upcountry. The northern half of the property contains a historic cemetery with approximately twenty marked graves and an additional twenty or more unmarked ones. Headstones date from 1888 to the 1960s. It is organized by family plot. Many of the people interred in the cemetery may have been former slaves, as indicated by the birth years. The most prominent figure associated with the cemetery is Samuel Nuckles, a former slave who served in the 1868 Constitutional Convention and represented Union County in the South Carolina House of Representatives during Reconstruction, between 1868 and 1872. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places June 27, 2012. (Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History)
In 2016 a group of historical enthusiast gathered to visit the church and were offered a wonderful greeting and tour by local church historian and preservationist Moose Littlejohn.
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Please enjoy this structure and all those listed in Roots and Recall. But remember each is private property. So view them from a distance or from a public area such as the sidewalk or public road.
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IMAGE GALLERY – Courtesy of R&R and photographer Bill Segars, 2016