Penn Center on St. Helena Island, one of the first schools in the country for former slaves during and after the Civil War, became a safe place for leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. to visit in the 1960s at the height of the civil rights movement.

Today, at its historic campus, exhibitions and programs continue to document its key role in the nation’s history for the public while celebrating Gullah Geechee culture and educating students and teachers.

Penn Center will mark its 160th anniversary Sept. 23-24 with gospel singing and discussion of the school’s rich history by authors, historians and a native resident who went on to become an author and TV star.

Recent archaeological finds related to the grave site of one of its abolitionist founders also will be shared during the free events at 16 Penn Center Circle West, which are open to the public.

< 10pt; line-height: 12pt;text-align: left; ">