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Cellphone app to promote black history in South Carolina

July 15, 2016 GMT
FILE- In this March 5, 2009 file photo, The Rev. W. T. "Dub" Massey, right, and Willie McLeod, left, pose at the counter where they were among the "Friendship Nine" who were jailed during 1960s civil rights "sit-ins" at what is now called the Old Town Bistro, in Rock Hill, S.C. A cellphone app could soon lead drivers to a plantation site in Lake City, the birthplace of jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in Cheraw and Rosenwald schools across the state. A state commission is developing the app in hopes of encouraging drivers to explore African-American historical sites in rural South Carolina. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain, File)
FILE- In this March 5, 2009 file photo, The Rev. W. T. "Dub" Massey, right, and Willie McLeod, left, pose at the counter where they were among the "Friendship Nine" who were jailed during 1960s civil rights "sit-ins" at what is now called the Old Town Bistro, in Rock Hill, S.C. A cellphone app could soon lead drivers to a plantation site in Lake City, the birthplace of jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in Cheraw and Rosenwald schools across the state. A state commission is developing the app in hopes of encouraging drivers to explore African-American historical sites in rural South Carolina. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A cellphone app could soon lead drivers to a plantation site near Lake City, the birthplace of jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in Cheraw, and Rosenwald schools across the state.

A state commission is developing the app in hopes of encouraging drivers to explore African-American historic sites in rural South Carolina.

The idea is to “get people off of I-95 and I-77 ... and into the rural communities,” said Jannie Harriot, vice chairman of the state’s African-American Heritage Commission .

The app should be ready in January, just ahead of Black History Month. Hundreds of sites will be searchable by county or subject, including churches, schools and cemeteries, she said.

The commission annually publishes a book of historic sites of African-American significance.

Its hundreds of entries include the site of a 150-acre plantation near Lake City owned by Joshua Braveboy, a free black who fought in the Revolutionary War, and what remains of the nearly 500 schools statewide for black children funded, at least partially, by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation between 1917 and 1932.

The app will add more information and make what’s now a 90-page book more user-friendly. While proponents seek to drive tourism to rural areas, the app will highlight sites in all 46 counties.

Legislators gave the Department of Archives and History $100,000 for the project, overriding Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto.

Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who pushed to include the agency’s request in the budget, said Friday that South Carolina has a “really rich history of African-American culture” that’s under-recognized.

“We should promote it and be proud of it and tell the story,” said Sheheen, D-Camden.