Emory Shaw Campbell, Community Research Partner
The contributions of Emory Shaw Campbell to the cultural and environmental heritage of South Carolina are enormous. A native of Hilton Head Island, SC, Campbell attended Penn School, one of the first schools in the South where formerly enslaved persons and their descendants could receive a formal education. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Savannah State College, and a Master of Science from Tufts University.
In 1980, Campbell became the Executive Director of Penn Center and vigorously embarked on programs to revive the Center’s historical significance and its educational programs and preserve the cultural and environmental assets of the Sea Islands. To help achieve this, he organized the nationally recognized Penn Center Heritage Days Celebration.
Campbell has appeared in many documentaries, news magazines, films and radio and television programs, including “60 Minutes”; “The Today Show”; a PBS special, “Family Across the Sea”; as well as on C-Span’s “Washington Journal.” He has been awarded the Governor’s Award for Historical Preservation (1999), and was inducted into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame (1999). He was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Award for Civil Rights by the National Education Association in 2006.
In 2010 his essay titled “A Sense of Self and Place: Unmasking My Gullah Cultural Heritage” was published with ten other essays in the book, African American Life in the Georgia Lowcountry by the University of Georgia Press. He received the Environmental Stewardship Award from the SC Aquarium and was awarded honorary Doctors of Humane Letters by Bank Street College, NY in 2008 and by the University of South Carolina, Beaufort in 2012.
Campbell authored the guide book Gullah Cultural Legacies in October 2002 (with second and third editions in 2005 and 2008), and co-authored Gullah Days: Hilton Head Island Before The Bridge, 1861-1956 in 2020.
He retired from Penn Center in December 2002 after twenty-two years. He is currently President of Gullah Heritage Consulting Service, where he conducts institutes on Gullah Cultural heritage and related issues through lectures, short courses and the Gullah Heritage Trail Tours on Hilton Head Island.
Campbell and his wife Emma reside on Hilton Head Island, SC and are the parents of two adult children, Ochieng and Ayoka, and one grandchild, Carver.