Decoration Day

Honoring the past, present and future. One of the earliest Memorial Day ceremonies was held in Charleston, South Carolina and was called Decoration Day. This day, primarily organized by African Americans, honored those who gave their lives in service of our country. We remember Decoration Day at McLeod Plantation Historic Site through a series of speakers, community partner tables, Gullah cuisine, and a tribute to our veterans. Join us to learn about the history of the day and the many connections between the people who once lived on James Island, their descendants, and their legacy of service to the United States.


  • Free with $20 park admission. Senior citizens are $15. Kids between 3-12 are $6. 
  • Free for ages 2 and under and Gold Pass Members. 

Event Schedule


  • 9:15 a.m. – Victoria Smalls Executive Director,  Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Commission  
  • 10:00 a.m. – Bishop Robert Gathers, Jr., Founder and Pastor, Gethsemane Cathedral of Praise, Former Marine and 5th generation descendant of Hannah and Gabriel Gathers
  • 11:00 a.m. Toby Smith, Cultural History Interpretation Coordinator, McLeod Plantation Historic Site

Other Performances/Activities:

  • Tours of McLeod Plantation Historic Site will be available throughout the day, starting at 9:30 a.m. and concluding by 1:30 p.m.
  • An art installation by Seashore Farmer’s Lodge will be viewable in the main house.
  • 11:00 a.m. Creation of a community quilt lead by Cookie Washington
  • 1:30 p.m. – Patriotic music by Charleston Concert Band

Food Vendors

  • Futness
  • Sea Island Geechee Kitchen

Craft Vendors

  • Daren Kimble
  • Sonja Griffith
  • Project Okurase

More Details

  • Food and beverages will be available for purchase, from our food vendors. No outside food or coolers are permitted. 
  • Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs as seating is limited.
  • Pets are not permitted.
  • Bicycles are not permitted. 

Community Partners

New South Associates, International African American Museum Family Center, Charleston County Public Library, Center for Heirs Property Preservation, Veterans Affairs


Please contact Park & Program Services by email or by phone at 843-795-4386.

Artwork of a group of African AmericansAbout the Artist

Internationally acclaimed Gullah Artist Sonja Griffin Evans was born and reared in Beaufort, South Carolina. A true product of the South called the Lowcountry, the area prides itself on its ability to preserve its culture and heritage. The Lowcountry has been an incredible influence on Sonja's artwork, giving her inspiration and an uncanny ability to capture the beauty, spirituality and a pure representation of the Gullah Sea Island and African American culture. Read more.