Legacy Leadership, LLC, 2015      All Rights Reserved

Legacy Leadership, LLC
 (843) 842-2339


Sign up now to learn about Legacy’s events




The establishment of the planned community at Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island marked the first true attempt to effect African-American self-governance and self-sustenance in the history of the United States.  Unlike other so-called “contraband camps” in areas liberated by Union armies in the South from Confederate control, Mitchelville was founded as a community of African-American freedmen with a charter and constitution specifically detailing roles, responsibilities, and the purpose for each branch of self-government, along with guidelines for districts of residence, representative Council seats, and key positions of authority in the governance structure.

Prior attempts to set precedents for African-American freedmen’s self-determination in the South had met with well-meant but ill-served efforts.  Many of the issues and challenges encountered elsewhere previously were known to General Ormsby Mitchel when he arrived on Hilton Head as the new commander of the Department of the South.  Quickly recognizing the unique problems a newly free populace in close proximity posed to his rapidly expanding military establishment, and conscious of many of the cultural needs of the indigenous people, Mitchel described his vision of a village with neatly-arranged, named streets, guidelines regulating community behavior and sanitation, the presence of churches (or worship houses, as they were called), and a compulsory education for children aged 6-15 – very likely the first such requirement of its kind in the South.  Despite succumbing to malaria within four months of his arrival, Mitchel’s vision and disciplined and thoughtful planning resulted in the dedication of the village, named in his honor, later in 1862.

The Leadership Experience

The program will be conducted on and around the headland of Fish Haul Creek and the site of the original settlement of Mitchelville, on land which was part of the ante-bellum Drayton Plantation from which the initial residents of Mitchelville came.  Case studies will focus on the leadership roles of General Ormsby Mitchel, General David Hunter, Mitchel’s replacement as Commander of the Department of the South, President Abraham Lincoln (given the part played by the evolution of African-American freedom in the so-called Port Royal Experiment in Lincoln’s planning for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation), and ex-slave Reverend Abraham Murchison, first elected Supervisor of Mitchelville.

Among the leadership practices explored will be:

 Employing situational awareness in setting direction and delegating authority

 Taking initiative and innovating in uncertain circumstances and situations

 Exercising authority autonomously/locally in a contextual framework defined on a higher/ global basis

 Setting clear standards and expectations in departing from past practices and points of reference

 Empowering and engaging reluctant associates in a new direction associated with risk and unknown

 Role modeling and exemplifying desired standards of behavior before they are recognized as a norm

A minimum of one-half day must be allotted to the program, and arrangements can be made to provide mid-session refreshments at the site.

Mitchelville Leadership Experience

Battle of Port Royal Leadership Experience


Experiment in Freedom: Mitchelville Leadership Experience

Honey Hill Leadership Experience

Programs & Services

Fort Pulaski Leadership Experience


The Lowcountry Leadership Experience

The Hilton Head Leadership Experience