On Sunday, October 17, 2010, the Lowcountry Oral History Alliance (LOHA) had its first official group outing, a bus tour of the Cainhoy peninsula guided by Herb Frazier. We all knew that Herb would be a great tour guide, but the depth and scope of his talk was really impressive. Living in Charleston for over half a decade, I am still constantly learning about the local history. Daniel Island is a place I admittedly have known little about. To me, it has always been what you first see when you take the exit from Interstate 526: new homes, a little urban shopping area with restaurants and medical offices, and the sports landmarks, the Family Circle Tennis Center and Blackbaud Soccer Stadium. The area exudes modern upscale living and deceivingly looks like it has been inhabited for only the last fifteen years or so.
Behind this first impression of Daniel Island, however, is an incredibly deep history. Concerned about development in the area and its possible contribution to the disappearance of the long-standing African American culture that exists there, the Coastal Community Foundation asked Herb Frazier to research and write on the area in 2004. Herb began collecting oral histories from the area in 2005, and the result has been a much larger project than originally anticipated. He has identified about 22 distinct African American communities in the area, while his talk only covered a few of these.